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Cape officials say water district expansion will benefit everybody

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CAPE VINCENT — Outside village water users added to the town’s expanded Water District 6 will see a “modest increase” in their water bills, but being annexed into the village probably would cost them more, according to the town engineer.

Matthew J. Cooper, of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, estimated that District 6 residents who already get village water would pay about $420 a year, or $50 to $60 more than they now pay.

But annexation of their properties could cost them $200 to $300 because of higher village tax rates, Mr. Cooper said at a Town Council meeting Thursday night.

Richard J. Edsall, who believes he was lumped into District 6 because his Pleasant Valley Road neighbors were, said he does not want to be a part of the expanded district if it means he would be charged for water service that he does not use.

“I’m not going to pay a penny to be in a district that brings me no benefit,” he said.

However, Mr. Cooper said that would be unlikely because the state mandates that even vacant parcels are charged some money if they are in a water district.

Town property owners near the village’s western boundary, including brothers James W. and Ron J. Mason, have argued that they were added to the expanded Water District 6 without their consent to make the $2.8 million project more affordable for the original district’s residents.

Town officials, on the other hand, have said that District 6’s expansion — which would serve roughly 90 homes and the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse facilities — would benefit everybody and satisfy the state departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, which “frown upon” outside water users not part of a municipal district.

Mr. Cooper said the village Board of Trustees had been notified by the DEC several years ago that it did not have a permit to sell water to outside users that are now part of District 6.

While the DEC did not threaten to enforce the issue, it did advise that the problem be corrected, he said.

Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey has said that some, but not all, outside users that were added to District 6 will be charged a lower rate to make it fair for those who already have adequate infrastructure.

Town officials are considering holding an informational meeting on District 6 at the request of outside users.

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