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New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise January 26, 2012
Water for New Salem?
NEW SCOTLAND After years of dealing with scarce water and crumbling infrastructure, the residents of New Salem may soon get reliable access to municipal water.
The town has gotten 30-year, zero-percent-interest bonds from the Department of Health’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. If New Scotland forms a district for the 150 parcels in the area, those people can choose to undertake the $3.2 million project.
To form the district, the town will likely circulate a petition to those affected, Supervisor Thomas Dolin said this week.
Currently, about 75 parcels are served by failing infrastructure that brings water from the Vly Creek Reservoir on Rock Hill Road to the residents of Bethlehem, which owns the reservoir. The New Scotland residents pay twice the rate for water that Bethlehem residents do, but the neighboring town has agreed to charge only 10 percent above what its residents pay as a contribution to the infrastructure improvement project, Dolin said this week.
Bethlehem, which will not have to make repairs to its old infrastructure if this project is finished, would also build a new pump station for $152,000. Bethlehem’s total contribution to the project would be about $1.7 million, according to the town’s engineering firm, Stantec.
The proposed project would serve twice as many New Scotland residents and include 18,300 feet of new water main, fire hydrants, a 200,000-gallon storage tank, and a booster station, according to a presentation by Stantec. About 60 people attended the informational meeting last week at the New Salem firehouse. A straw poll of support for the project resulted in the vast majority being in favor, two people who were undecided, and one person who was against it.
One woman asked if the town had considered the impact that available water could have on development in the area, which is an issue that has been heated in New Scotland over the last few years.
“Some development brings down your water tax… so there’s a balance,” said Keith Menia, the Stantec engineer who was making the presentation. District residents will each pay $922, Menia said.
Dolin said this week that he didn’t think the water project would result in significant development since it is being constructed to accommodate the existing houses.
The town has until October of 2013 to decide whether or not it will take the bonds for the project and Menia estimated that it would take two years to design and build the project.
By Saranac Hale Spencer