From the Desk of the Town Supervisor: A series of formal steps are required for the creation of a water district in a Town in New York State.
1) Residents of a new special district (i.e., water) are the ONLY residents who pay the debt for the new district. The Town must adhere to the Laws of NYS which fall under Article 12 “District and Special Improvements”. That Law notes that the residents of the new special district (in this case water), are the only residents in town who pay the debt on the new district for the duration of the bond. That expense would fall under the special district section of the Wheatland Budget. ALL districts requested by petition to the town board and approved at a public hearing fall under that section of the town budget and ultimately add to the town tax rate. The district is created per resident request and serves only those residents in the specific geographic area.
2) During the study phase, all MCWA and NYS standards MUST be satisfied, including spending caps or limits.
During the study phase of the process, the Town must meet all Monroe County Water Authority standards and work through NYS Audit and Control. Audit and Control sets specific annual caps or spending limits they consider reasonable for each homeowner to bear for this new service. Typically, the per household cost increases with increased distances between houses as in rural settings. This often creates the situation of exceeding NYS Audit and Control limits which they have determined to be reasonable. Their approval is required, and they can deny a project move forward despite resident desire or fees expended.
3) ALL Town residents bear the cost of a water district study, the Town is reimbursed if approved by NYS.
Acting on residents’ requests, the Town is engaged in the first feasibility step for providing water to those interested residents who have presented a petition. Up to the point of NYS approval on spending limits, ALL Wheatland residents bear the associated costs of the study. This cost comes out of the current Town budget. If the project does receive NYS approval, those residing in the newly established district will reimburse the Town as part of their annual bill. If NYS denies the district formation, there is no reimbursement to the other residents for the monies spent in our current Town budget. This process is outlined in NYS Town Law.
4) Current water district creation status
An informational session was held with a presentation and a “rough” estimate of per household cost to determine continued interest. The values presented were more than TWICE the NYS limit however, those in attendance requested the Town move forward to the next step. A follow-up meeting is scheduled for July based on inputs from the associated engineering firm. A comprehensive look at all options and input from many involved parties takes time. The resulting cost to all residents who live in the defined area(s) – whether you agree with the district formation or not – indicates that this process and decision should be done carefully.