The Pomfret Town Hall was packed with residents Monday evening anticipating the approval of the long-awaited North End Water District contract with the Village of Fredonia.
Town Supervisor Don Steger opened the meeting. "The primary purpose of this special meeting is to review and endorse our inter-municipal agreement with the Village of Fredonia concerning the water supply for the Phase I of our North End Water District," Steger told the board, and explained changes to the contract as of the June 23 revision. "Our town attorney has approved this recent draft; our town engineering firm Wendel Duchscherer has approved it," along with the Department of Health (DOH) and the town's financing corporation, Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), Steger said.
Steger explained the problems the DOH and EFC had with the last draft were about language surrounding the terms under which the village could terminate the 30-year contract. "They said as long as this sentence is in it, they're good to go with that. It led to a graduation, where it was a violation, then a suspension, then a termination, giving us a chance to correct any perceived or actual problems before termination," Steger explained.
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
The Pomfret Town Board met and approved the North End Water District contract with the Village of Fredonia on Monday much to the relief of the many residents present. From left: Councilman Scott Johnston, Councilwoman Ann Eckman, Councilman David Penharlow, Councilwoman Pat Christina and Supervisor Don Steger.
"Any questions, comments, concerns anyone wants to bring up and discuss farther?" Steger asked the board.
Councilman Scott Johnston offered praise for board members' efforts. "I just want to say that you (Steger) and David (Penharlow) did a great job last week by going over to the village and working with their committee to get these changes made," Johnston said.
"Well, we went in with a plan of attack," Steger replied.
Councilman Penharlow said he felt the meeting with the village was positive. "The representatives of the village board were very open to discussing some of the issues we had. It was a very cordial meeting and a very productive one," Penharlow told the group.
"Maybe this is something we might want to do on a regular basis," Johnston suggested.
Councilwoman Pat Christina agreed. "Hear, hear," she said, and later suggested the board develop a regular meeting schedule with members of the village board.
Christina said she felt several people who are not on the board deserved recognition for their efforts over the four year process. "One of them is a resident, Pat Dashiell, who was relentless in her attention to the contract, in attending every meeting she possibly could, and attending meetings at the village, just to make certain that this contract was eventually completed. Ed Lawson. Ed should be on the board," Christina said and joked the board should have a chair for him at the table.
"Jim Oakes, our former highway supervisor. Where would we be in this situation if we didn't have the guidance and direction and push from Jim Oakes? And some of our former board members: Chuck Civiletto and Rod Pennica. Talk about energy, talk about commitment, talk about insistence that this become a reality. We are so grateful to them," Christina said.
Christina also had praise for current councilman Penharlow. "You're fairly new to this board, and you've just jumped in with both feet and made this work by working with the village," she said.
The town's engineering firm was also credited for their efforts in the process. "We could not have had a better engineering firm. ... They worked with us through so many tangles and knots that came our way, so we're extremely grateful to Wendel Duchscherer for their efforts, and for bringing us some monumental funding, which will save our tax payers significant amounts of money," she said.
"A lot of work and effort has gone into this. We've been in this now for four years, so you can imagine how relieved and how happy we are that finally, clean, fresh water is going to flow to so many people in our town," Christina concluded.
After the motion passed unanimously, Steger said, "I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief," and applause erupted from the residents in the packed room.
Several in attendance had questions about how soon the project would begin. Steger said the next round of funding begins this month. "The ball has already started rolling," Steger said, and went on to explain how the time table may unfold.
Christina said, "We will go to bid before the end of the month," to which residents present reacted with audible gasps of relief. Steger said the point of actual groundbreaking would be up to the contractors and may depend on the type of winter weather that will occur in the coming year. "We have what we call a 'drop dead' date in the contract. We have to be digging by July of next year. ... Theoretically, we hope to be digging in the ground this year. ... It's going to take approximately two and a half to three months to go through the bid process," Steger explained.
Comments on this article may be sent to email@example.com