Waterline Grant Will Reduce Clinton Hill Bills

After a grant was proposed over three years ago for the rresidents along the Clinton Hill waterline, their cries for financial relief are almost answered. On Dec. 1st at their regular meeting, the Town Council unanimously approved the $400,000 grant which will be used to defray the costs of debt the town still owes on the waterline; and consequently those residents who pay their dues for the line.

Residents along the waterline can expect their debt assessment to drop beginning with their March bill, says Sewer and Water Commission Chairman, James Paolino. He and his commission recommended that the Town Council order a new assessment of the total cost of the project with the new bond included. Because this new assessment will be the prevailing assessment for the project, residents who already paid their bills in full can expect to receive checks for the amount they overpaid. To date 123 residents paid their assessments in full. 514 homeowners were given assessments, 391 of which are still outstanding. Most of those are making regular payments over many years.

In 2003, the waterline was approved at a cost of $5.4 million. In 2004, the waterline was expanded slightly to include some roads which were not originally included in the original plans. $1.9 million of the cost was covered by federal grants with the rest of the cost burdened by homeowners along the path of the waterline. In 2006 the State Legislature passed a bill proposed by Rep. Mazurek and Sen. Caligiuri to grant the Town of Wolcott money to further defray the costs of the waterline. The State Bond Commission held the grant up for some time while a different grant for the Soccer and football fields on Spindle Hill Rd. that Rep. Mazurek had submitted somehow that grant came much sooner. The State Bond Commission reports to Governor Rell, so the legislatures have little control over their speed. The grant was finally recieved this past June of 2009 by Mayor Dunn’s office which he then reported to the Town Council.

Wolcott’s Sewer and Water Commission has since corresponded with the State DEP to ascertain iif the language of the law which authorized the bond could be used for the project which had already been completed before the bond was received. The State’s Attorney General’s office originally stated it could not, which kept the S &W Commission working. In fact the state attorney’s at the time said that the grant could only be used to help defray the costs of taxpayers who had not yet paid their bills in full. Those who had could not get a refund check, according to sources who read the correspondence.

At its regular October 19th meeting, all commission members, the Mayor and Tax Collector Lorraine McQueen seemed to be in agreement that the grant should be used for the original cost of the project and efforts should be made to make sure that residents who already paid their full assessments be given the opportunity to have their dues be reduced just as those who had not yet paid in full. It appears that their efforts have succeeded. In upcoming weeks, a new assessment will be made by the Tax Collector’s office which will be reflected in March water bills.expect


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