Updated budget approved for Arkville water project

Staff report
An updated spending plan for the Arkville Water District upgrade project was approved by the Middletown Town Board last Monday.

The board passed a resolution authorizing the issuance of an additional $556,625 in serial bonds to help fund the project.

The total price tag for the water system upgrade is $2,344,000. The town has secured $1,492,000 in grant funding to offset project costs. Water district residents will repay the anticipated balance of $852,000 through loan-interest loans over a 38-year period.

It was noted by board members at the meeting that the project is higher than originally anticipated as a result of two unexpected occurrences. After the new well had been drilled for the district and all of the engineering work was completed, the state Department of Health (DOH) said its testing showed that arsenic levels slightly exceed the department’s new guidelines. The arsenic levels in the new well would have fallen within acceptable limits under previous DOH rules.

As a result, an arsenic filtration system is needed for the new system. The cost of the filtration equipment and additional engineering work added approximately $400,000 to the project.
Supervisor Len Utter pointed out that bids for the water main replacement portion of the upgrade also came in more than $300,000 higher than estimated by Lamont Engineering.

More grant dollars
Project Manager Beth Bush said at last week’s meeting that the town has been able to secure additional grant funding totaling $392,000 since the project was originally presented.

“We are looking for more grant money (to help lower the cost for district taxpayers),” she explained.
Pete and Dottie Dubeau were the only community members who turned out for the public hearing preceding the bond resolution vote.

Both expressed displeasure with the cost of the Arkville water upgrade.

Supervisor Utter said he sympathized with the couple’s feelings, but noted there’s little that could be done to overcome the project overruns.

The Dubeaus also asked if there’s any way that a new waterline could be installed leading to their commercial property adjacent to the Arkville Country Store. The Dubeaus said they have had minimal water pressure at their building and had received promises that the situation would be corrected during the previous system upgrade more than two decades ago.

Board member Jake Rosa explained that private work is not allowed as part of a public project.
Project Manager Bush reported that work is well underway with the system upgrade with Hubbell Inc. of Kelly Corners making good progress with installation of new water mains along Route 28.

The system improvement will also include the new well and pump house located behind the Delaware & Ulster Railroad. The flow from the new well has been measured at 200 gallons per minute. Several “dead ends” that impede water follow and affect quality will also be eliminated from the system.

Arkville has one water source and DOH guidelines mandate that communities have a backup water supply.