Kendall property owners hear about status of municipal water

By on June 23, 2014

While water came down in torrents during severe thunderstorms outside, dozens of Kendall property owners inside the David J. Doyle Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Tuesday, June 17, listened to a presentation on the current status of expanding municipal water in the town.

William Reemtsen of Stuart I. Brown Associates, Inc., told residents, “Kendall is a tough nut to crack in terms of getting water out here.” He noted median income is high, making it difficult to qualify for necessary grant funding, and population density is low.

“I wish I had better news,” he said. “This is what the town board has been wrestling with. It’s not easy to get funding for water.”

Reemtsen explained that USDA Rural Development Community Program grants are the town’s best chance for funding assistance to expand water districts. However, the town’s median income is $70,000 according to the 2010 Census, and to qualify for grant funding, median income must fall below $56,882.

Despite the challenges, the town has identified the areas of Kendall Road, Creek Road, and Norway Road in the southeast portion of the town has the best possible areas for expanding water lines. The town plans on completing an income survey in the proposed benefit area to see if the median income there falls below the $56,822 threshold.

“If you don’t qualify on income, you can’t apply,” Reemtsen said. He noted a main purpose in holding the informational presentation was to make residents aware “of the difficulties and hurdles a community has to overcome to get grant funds.”

Town Board members stated that obtaining grant funding is crucial to the water expansion project. Kendall currently has six water districts, but 37 miles of the town remain without municipal water, board members stated during the meeting.

Several residents spoke of their desire for public water and their frustrations over the years of waiting for it to become a reality. One Lakeshore Road resident who has lived on her property for nearly four decades spoke of buying bottled water and doing laundry at the laundromat.

Over the past five years, residents have petitioned the town repeatedly for public water access, citing both quantity and quality issues with well water.

“I appreciate your passion on this very important issue,” Kendall Supervisor Tony Cammarata told those in attendance. “I would like to have everybody in the town who wants water and can afford water to have water.”

He said the town would continue to pursue expanding water and the first part of the process would be to complete the income survey.

Councilperson Bart Joseph said town board members have been “aggressively trying to get water” over the course of many years.

Kendall resident and Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller attended the water meeting and said he feels census data on median income can be challenged. He noted that ten water districts had been created in Orleans County in the past three years and that other municipalities are finding a way to do it.

“We have to keep positive, we’ve got to move forward,” he said.