Bill offers loan for well construction
By Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | May 12,2012
PITTSFORD — Residents to be disconnected from Proctor’s public water supply in Pittsford at the end of the year will be able to tap into a new revolving loan fund set up to help them build personal wells.
Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law Tuesday that will loan up to $200,000 to municipalities for the design and construction of private wells for homes that have been involuntarily disconnected from a public water supply system.
Pittsford’s state representative, Butch Shaw, who supported the bill, said the Vermont Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund was designed to help the more than 70 households in his district that were informed almost two years ago they were going to be disconnected from Proctor’s 150-year-old water system. The cut-off deadline is Dec. 1.
“I was very excited when this passed,” he said. “Everyone in Montpelier knew that we were trying to set this up.”
An engineering study last year showed it would be most cost efficient for Pittsford’s residents to drill personal wells and a Whitehall, N.Y., contractor offered the town group rates to drill wells earlier this year. Through litigation between Proctor and some residents, the town has agreed to pay $250,000 to be divided among the residents.
Although some residents have moved forward, some have not as they are figuring out how to come up with the money, Shaw said.
“Through my research I found there was funding for everything, but drilling private wells,” he said. “(This loan) is built for this purpose. It’s another way for users to get money.”
The bill was introduced by the House Corrections and Institutions Committee and through the help of the Rutland County senate delegation they were able to get the $200,000 through the state Agency of Natural Resources.
“The town will apply to ANR for some funds, like they do for any other loan,” said Shaw, adding they will also need a positive townwide bond vote. “I am surprised that we found the money because of the pressures of Irene (recovery).”
An earlier effort by Shaw sought to delay the town of Proctor from disconnecting them until they had an adequate alternative water supply. It died in committee.
Town officers in Pittsford are looking to send out letters to find out what the interest and demand is for the loan so that an application can be completed.
In conjunction, the town is considering a proposal that would potentially add the Pittsford Fire District 1, the Pittsford Country Club and eight residences on Corn Hill Road to the town’s recently upgraded water system. The country club and the residences on Corn Hill Road are currently connected to the Proctor water system.
If accepted by the town, and there is a positive bond vote, the project would include an approximately 300-foot line from Route 7 South to the fire district and a 300- to 400-foot line to the golf course. The estimated cost would be approximately $213,000 and paid for by the new users.
Shaw said “there is a sense of urgency” and they are looking at having two bond votes in mid to late June.