Road Residents Vote To Support Water line Replacement
(8/8/2003) Next summer, the water Mountain View Road
residents get from the town should be far better than the
water they get now.
By a 2-to-1 margin, the 28 households
on the road just outside EmmitsburgĻs limits voted to help pay
to have a new water line run to their homes. Eighteen
households cast votes for the project, nine were opposed, and
one didnít vote.
The vote results mean the residents
will pay 25 percent of the cost of replacing the existing
line. Theyíll be offered the option of paying no more than
$3,000 up front for their share or paying up to $16.67 extra
on their monthly water bill. The exact cost wonít be
determined until project bids are received.
Linda Junker, a Mountain View resident
who was at the forefront of the replacement-line talks, said
she voted for the new line because itís badly needed and the
cost seemed reasonable. "Weíve been talking about this since
the early Ď90s," she said, "and the (project) cost and (water)
quality didnít improve. Given the cost factor, I just thought
this was as good as it would get.
"I do think the town is acting as best
they can, given their own financial situation."
The town will pay for the project by
floating bonds through the Maryland Water Quality Financing
Administration. Theyíll repay the bonds, at a 1.1 percent
interest rate, over 20 years.
David Haller, Emmitsburgís town
manager, hopes bid packages can go out within 60 days. A
temporary, above-ground line must be built to provide water to
homes during the expected 90-day construction period, so he
said itís likely that work wonít begin until spring.
Ms. Junker said she hopes the town can
help any affected resident who faces hardships because of the
cost increase. She also said that getting a fully functional
line could increase property values and lower some peopleís
homeowners insurance premiums.
Though heís all for having better
water, Blaine Ridenour voted in the minority. His position is
that replacing the line should be the townís responsibility.
In the past, the town paid for water
and sewer improvements with money from its general fund, which
is primarily filled by tax dollars. Because Mountain Viewís
residents live outside the town limits, they donít pay taxes.
Those residents, however, pay a premium for water and sewer
service. It has been as much as 50 percent more than town
residents paid, but that percentage has dropped gradually.
That extra money, Mr. Ridenour argued, should have more than
covered the replacement lineís cost.
"Iím disappointed," he said. "I canít
believe anybody would want to pay for something thatís already
been paid for 30 times over."
Mr. Haller, however, questioned
whether that assessment was accurate. He said out-of-town
customers historically paid no more than 10 percent more than
town residents for water and sewer service until 1998. That
extra amount, he said, wasnít as great as the amount of tax
dollars spent on the systems.
Mr. Ridenour believed his neighbors
donít realize that for some, their costs wonít end with the
monthly payment. Many of the older homes on the road may need
to have the pipes to their houses replaced. He said that could
result in an immediate need to pay as much as $1,700.
Once residents start paying on the
water line, Mr. Ridenour and Larry McKenna believe Mountain
View customers should pay the same as town residents for their
water. The town has established a fund to pay for water and
sewer capital projects, and part of what every customer pays
each month is funneled into that account.
Mr. McKenna didnít think the residents
should have to help pay for the line, but he voted for it
because heís tired of having "terrible" water. He said that
eliminating the additional amount Mountain View customers pay
for water would be "fair and equitable treatment to all
However, heís not optimistic that will
happen. He suggested it to the town at one of its water-line
meetings, but the commissioners didnít discuss it. Mr. Haller
said heís recommended schedules in which in-town and
out-of-town rates would become equal, but the board hasnít
approved a plan.
Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town