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Town of Watertown wants city water for new district

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After six years, the Watertown town board finally agreed on Thursday night to buy city water for its planned northeast water district.

By a 3-0 vote, the Town Council decided to purchase water from the city for the new water district, instead of buying land for a well from Councilman Paul V. Desormo. Mr. Desormo abstained from the vote and Councilman Edward Smith was absent.

“Very good, we’ve made progress,” Town Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett said after the vote.

The water district can proceed only if 51 percent of affected property owners sign a petition supporting it.

For six years, the other members of the town board and Mr. Desormo talked — on and off again — about buying Mr. Desormo’s nearly 20 acres at 20638 Weaver Road, but they were never able to agree on a price. For a final time, Mr. Desormo approached the other board members last month about trying to come up with a deal.

But, in the end, it was all about construction costs. The cost to build the infrastructure for the city water project would be about $600,000 less than using the well, the board said. The price tag for the city water project would be $2.3 million, compared to the well at $2.9 million.

However, Ryan G. Churchill, an engineer with GYMO Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying, Watertown, said it would be cheaper for the town to provide water from the well than for the town to purchase it from the city. He said individual property owners would be charged about $906 a year for city water, compared to about $705 for well water.

In March, City Water Superintendent Michael J. Sligar said the city would be more than happy to provide water for the project. The city already provides water to some town residents.

If all goes well, the referendum could take place in a few months, bids could go out this fall and construction could begin next spring, Mr. Bartlett said.

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