As the pipeline at the Boswell Engineering development site off Miller Road is all but complete, residents will now have to pay to connect to it.
Residents will pay about $150 per yard for connection to the new pipeline. If the connection length is over 150 feet, the cost of a new meter pit would also have to be paid. This unit costs $180 for a three-quarter inch line and $290 for a 1-inch line.
The pipeline will cost contractor Bruce Boswell $340,000. He first approached the town with his planned 16-lot housing development six years ago in 2009. Much of the negotiations since that time have focused on how to source water to the new houses.
The pipeline is 87 percent done, according to the town.
“You should be excited,” said Boswell to the large crowd that came to the Wednesday, Aug. 12 Town Board meeting. “I’m replacing a pipe that could break any winter… I really do think you should be excited.”
Water pressure will remain the same, despite the increased usage that will come with the construction of new houses, said Boswell.
Further concerns about the construction included the increase of traffic on the new road Boswell plans to build for the development. These were addressed by a traffic study, which concluded traffic would not be an issue.
The town has also already deemed the construction of the water pipe would not cause environmental damage.
Rather than removing the old pipe, it will remain in the ground and undisturbed, as removing the pipe would be hazardous because of the asbestos that sits on the concrete surrounding the pipe. The water itself has tested negative for asbestos.
As these concerns have already been put to rest, discussion at the meeting soon turned to water prices in New Scotland.
Changes affect the New Salem Water District and a new Heldervale Water District will be created.
Many residents in attendance saw the most recent charges as another example of what they believe to be exorbitantly high water taxes.
“I walk my dog down the street (into Bethlehem) and it’s half the water rate than my home. That’s hard for me to digest.” said Paul Kelly, a resident and Advisory Zoning Board Committee member on the project, in reference to the fact New Scotland residents are billed nearly twice what Bethlehem residents are billed for water.
While some residents have their own municipal water in the form of wells, all other New Scotland residents have their water sourced from the Town of Bethlehem. Charges for water in New Scotland have been set at a maximum of two times the rate of water in Bethlehem. The Town Board said they have looked numerous times for other water sources and are “always investigating new sources,” but Bethlehem seems to be the only option.
Water rates within New Scotland are highly diverse as the districts with their own water sources pay far less than those that source their water from Bethlehem. The fact that these residents pay so much more for water has been a concern for years.
When pressed to explain why this inequality occurs, the explanation given at the meeting was Bethlehem residents pay an additional water tax, which New Scotland residents don’t. With this, two comparably-sized homes in New Scotland and Bethlehem should be paying about the same for water and sewage.
However, residents in attendance still thought the cost was too high.