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County might give Pen Mar area residents waiver in fees

September 27, 2005|by TARA REILLY

CASCADE

tarar@herald-mail.com

Pen Mar area residents forced to hook up to a Washington County water system might get a break on some of the costs.

The Washington County Water Quality Advisory Committee has recommended the County Commissioners waive the $1,950 allocation fee for the 86 homes that must hook up to the system.

The commissioners have not yet voted on the recommendation.

The waiving of the fees would be contingent upon whether the project's cost is covered by grants, Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said Monday. Wivell said county officials expect grant money will pay for the project.

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The county has said the project will cost $2.58 million.

The waived fees would total $167,700, Wivell said.

Affected residents would have to pay for the service line installation, which county officials estimate to be about $2,000.

The exact cost depends on the length of the line and other factors, Wivell said.

The Water Quality Advisory Committee made the recommendation after hearing comments from affected residents during a June public hearing.

The county has been planning the water system extension since 1989.

County Water Quality Director Greg Murray has said the system would improve water quality in the area.

The residents hooking up to the system now use wells or cisterns for water.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said Monday he supports waiving the fees because the county is receiving a significant amount of grant money for the project.

Commissioner John C. Munson said he hasn't made up his mind.

"I guess I'm 50 percent yes, 50 percent no," Munson said.

He said residents in other parts of the county who had to connect to public water didn't receive such assistance.

"Would it be fair to other people that's paid theirs?" Munson asked.

During two county-sponsored public meetings in Cascade on the issue, the majority of affected residents in attendance - many of whom were well users - spoke against the water system.

They said they like their wells and objected to paying costs associated with the system, including quarterly water bills.

Several cistern users said they supported the water system. They said having water trucked in to fill their cisterns was a costly inconvenience.

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