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Massena village trustees expect to finalize water project

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MASSENA — Village officials say they are close to reaching a plan to replace leaking water lines near Highland Road after numerous proposals were shot down because of criticism from town officials, two village trustees and several of the ratepayers on that system who thought the previous proposal imposed unnecessary and unfair fees to fund the work.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad said if the work is done by the Water Department, and if the town Highway Department offers him assistance, the project’s total cost may be close to $100,000. Several trustees considered making a motion to let Mr. Fayad proceed, but decided to let him seek bids before making a decision.

Mayor James F. Hidy said “it’s yet to be determined” whether the board will impose a fee or raise water rates to pay for the work or pay for it through the fund balance.

“It’s something that has to be addressed with consistently running water (from the end of the pipe) and the age of the pipe,” Mr. Hidy said. “We’d like to take care of this as soon as possible.”

Ratepayers along that pipe on Old Orchard and Leslie roads are charged a monthly village water bill, but their homes lie nearly a mile outside the village. A 50-year-old agreement extended the village water system to that section.

Residents near the pipe’s dead end began experiencing roily water a couple of years ago. The water was drinkable but looked bad and caused problems for laundry. In the meantime, DPW has allowed the pipe’s end to leak to prevent the homeowners from receiving rusty water. Mr. Fayad has estimated the pipe could lose more than 200,000 gallons of water per month.

In February, the board defeated a proposal to establish new water rates for village residents and town residents who use the system near Highland Road, outside the village, to cover the proposed project’s $245,000 cost. The estimate is based on the cost of hiring a contractor.

Trustees Francis J. Carvel, Albert C. “Herb” Deshaies and Patricia K. Wilson voted against it.

Mr. Carvel, previously a DPW foreman, opposed it because he believes the project could be done for much less than $245,000 if DPW did all the work.

“We’re putting in a few thousand feet of pipe — it’s not a big job,” he said.

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