Rensselaerville water district to undergo income survey

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

The Route 353 bridge leads into the Rensselaerville hamlet. Hamlet residents will soon be asked to fill out an optional income survey to try and increase their odds of getting grant money for a much-needed water-system upgrade. 

RENSSELAERVILLE — The Rensselaerville Town Board voted unanimously at its April 11 meeting to authorize Supervisor John Dolce to enter into a contract with G&G Municipal Consulting and Grant Writing to conduct an income survey of residents in the town’s water district. 

The hope is that the survey will reveal the district’s median income to be lower than the town’s overall median income. According to data collected from the United States Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey by Census Reporter, the town’s median income is $95,673.

“Although there’s the opinion that many of the homeowners in the water district are above median household income … we’ve been encouraged to do an income survey specifically of the people who are in the water district because then we can get an absolutely accurate picture and, I believe, increase our chances of getting grant funding,” Water and Sewer Advisory Committee Chairman Ed Csukas told the town board. 

Csukas said the committee “met with all the agencies that this federal money is flowing down through” and each of them had suggested that the town’s current median income level is too high to be eligible for the money, which the district is relying on for a crucial rehabilitation of its aging water system.

The target income level is around $65,000, he said. 

The only alternative to grant money is loans, and Csukas said that he’s “not anxious to start down that path until we’ve completely exhausted every possibility of getting grant money first.” 

Csukas said that G&G will send out staffers to collect the income data. “They use, like, retired military folks, dressed professionally,” he said. “They’ll have a … lanyard, indicating they’re on official business.” 

Residents won’t be obligated to complete the survey, and those who do won’t need to hand over tax forms or “anything like that,” he explained. 

Csukas said he wants there to be outreach so that residents are aware the survey is coming and understand why it will benefit them to complete it. He added that for the survey to be valid, 80 percent of households need to respond. 

Although there’s no guarantee that the survey, which will cost around $4,000, will reveal a sufficiently low median income, Csukas said it may “be the thing that can help us actually get grant money versus loan money, or at least some grant money, to help us pay the cost as we upgrade.” 

Csukas told The Enterprise in an email that there’s no established date for the survey collection yet but said, “We’re targeting this week or worse case by next week.” 

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