Tuesday, October 21, 2003
A resolution passed last month to allow county residents to tap into town water mains may not serve any purpose at all.
When the resolution passed 3-2 at a Sept. 18 Town Board meeting, its main opponent, Trustee Ken Gibbon, was absent. At Thursday's meeting, with Gibbon present and the board equally divided on the issue, trustees discussed reversing their previous decision.
On Sept. 18, trustees Tim Frentress, Chencho Salazar and Joe Schminkey voted in favor of the resolution, while trustees Richard Hagins and Lorraine Johnson voted against it.
The resolution requires that county residents live within 150 feet of a town water main. Petitions from those who qualify will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The issue arose when country resident Brett Brooks, whose property east of Hayden is 148 feet from town water, said a well there does not provide suitable drinking water.
Despite a 1996 moratorium on out-of-town water taps, he sought approval for tapping into town water.
On Thursday, Johnson said Brooks had to prove he could not get drinking water from the well before she would consider approving the tap. Also, after allowing Brooks the tap, she said she wanted to have the moratorium put back into effect, denying any future county residents from tapping into town water.
However, because Schminkey and Salazar were not in attendance, the decision to extend a water line to Brooks' property was delayed. Frentress said Brooks would "not be getting a fair shake" if the full board did not vote.
Gibbon stood his ground Thursday in opposing the out-of-town connection, saying it is "our distinct responsibility as stewards to the town to deny this tap. There is no advantage to the town. Water is a privilege to town residents."
Town Clerk Lisa Johnston reported that two keys at the key pump station were now available, and that Brooks had the option of getting one of those.
Brooks said he would prefer a town water connection than a key for the town's pump station, but Hayden Planning Commission member Tom Rogalski said all key pump owners would prefer that.
In light of the ongoing discussion, the board overruled Frentress Thursday, saying a decision will be made at the next meeting regardless of which members are present.