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March 1, 2019 - 1:41pm

Vote on proposed Darien water district expected to take place in mid-April

posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Darien.

Barring any unforeseen roadblocks, owners of property located in the Town of Darien’s proposed Water District No. 6 will have their chance to vote in mid-April on a $25 million public water project.

Town Supervisor David Hagelberger, speaking by telephone this afternoon, said a paper ballot election will be run by town employees on or around April 10, likely between noon and 8 p.m., at the Town Hall.

“This election will decide whether this water district will go through,” Hagelberger said, adding that the exact date is expected to be announced at the Town Board’s next meeting at 7:30 p.m. March 6.

Several weeks ago it was reported on The Batavian that a “permissive referendum” – where residents in the proposed district were compelled to get enough signatures to force a vote – would be the guiding force for action.

That fell through, however, Hagelberger said, due to the fact that certain parameters of the referendum were not published in the allowed time limit.

“The residents did get enough signatures to force a vote, and we were going to do that anyway,” Hagelberger said. “In effect, the timing issue is moot. The mandatory referendum in April is set up for property owners to come in and vote.”

The supervisor said there are about 1,400 possible voters considering that people who own multiple properties only get one vote. Citizens representing a business, a church in the district and the cemetery association also get one vote.

“There are no absentee ballots either,” Hagelberger said. “Property owners have to be there to have their votes count.”

Hagelberger said the town board reported at its last meeting that the Genesee County Board of Elections will not be running the election due to constraints in state law.

“We were told that we have to run it and we’re doing what needs to be done,” he said. “There’s a lot of work going on right now that most people don’t realize.”

He said the town is working with the assessor and county clerk’s office to review property deeds to determine the correct number of property owners. The town also has to pay election inspectors, for books for people to sign and to build the property owner list.

The estimated cost to the town will be several thousand dollars, Hagelberger said.

The proposal to supply public water to an estimated 2.095 residents (two-thirds of the town’s population) comes with an annual cost of $1,275 per household -- $914 to cover the project’s debt distribution and $361 to cover water supply, operations and maintenance costs.

Due to increasing construction costs and interest rates, the project’s total price tag has gone up from $24.8 million to $25.25 million. The town is pursuing a $10.82 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to defray some of the cost.

Upfront costs to property owners, estimated at $2,000 for each parcel, will be required to pay for meter changes, account setup fees, service lines and well abandonment and/or separation fees.

The proposal to create the water district was presented initially in the fall of 2016 via a couple public meetings.

Eleanor Randall
Eleanor Randall's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 28 2018 - 11:57am

Informational session on the changes to the proposal set for Tues April 2 7PM and Sat April 6, 9AM and 10 AM Darien Fire Hall
Health and safety is no longer an issue for current wells in Darien as there have been no town-wide legitimate well surveys.. Many well researched ,emotional and economic reasons were presented to the supervisor and town board at the "HEARING" opposing the public water district.. The 2016 engineering presentation offered no valid reason in support of public water other than implied development.
. We have heard the town board and supervisor speak in one voice to champion "development"
For those newer residents who moved to enjoyed the open space.....look out your door or in the area and imagine a nice complex of housing instead of the rural ambiance you searched for. KEEP DARIEN RURAL... This has occurred in other area towns near Buffalo and Rochester.
"Development disproportionately occurred in agricultural lands, with 62 percent of all development occurring on farmland."American Farmland Trust.org
PLEASE VOTE APRIL 10 NOON to 8PM This election is critical to the future of our twon as described on the website as "over time has become a beautiful, laid back and well spaced community. LETS TRY TO KEEP IT THAT WAY

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