Herkimer County water project requires commitment to the cost


HERKIMER COUNTY–A proposed pipeline to service five municipalities requires town and village commitment to the cost, on top of preliminary planning.

On Tuesday, engineering firm Barton and Loguidice outlined the cost for a pipeline to help solve the Village of Ilion’s ongoing water discoloration problem, as well as aging water systems in neighboring municipalities.

A $24 million price tag would bring a pipeline Southeast into Herkimer County (from Schuyler); to be serviced by the Mohawk Valley Water Authority.

“It gives us that other water source that we desperately need in the Village of Ilion.”

Mayor Brian Lamica, Village of Ilion

The proposed 11-mile pipeline would service the Villages of Ilion, Frankfort and Herkimer as well as the Towns of Schuyler, and Herkimer.

In each of those municipalities, Barton and Loguidice Associate Chris Lawton says the annual household cost to fund the pipeline would be $106– considering all municipalities approve the project, and take out a 30-year zero-percent no interest loan with New York State.

Lawton says the estimated $106 figure would decrease with additional grants; which he says municipalities have applied for.

Following an award announcement from Governor Cuomo last week, the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency will begin facilitating a $3 million state grant to put toward preliminary studies of the pipeline project.

Though, the pipeline is not a done deal.

Lawton says the Towns of Schuyler and Herkimer first need to pass a public referendum to create water districts, in order for multi-municipal plans for the pipeline can move forward.

If one municipality backs out of a five-municipality agreement, Lawton says households in the four remaining municipalities would see an increase of 50 to 100 dollars annually for the pipeline.

(The aforementioned dollar amount, on top of the $106 figure)

Turning the page, Barton and Loguidice also outlined figures for upgrades to the five municipalities’ individual water distribution systems.

Ilion showed the highest cost, while the Town of Herkimer indicated the lowest. (See the above Eyewitness News video for the full municipal costs.)

In Ilion alone, households would pay an additional $266 annually for an upgrade to the distribution system, and the Mohawk Valley Water Authority pipeline.

Eyewitness News reporter Ben Dennis asked if Ilion Mayor Brian Lamica was comfortable requesting residents to pay for this cost.

“Considering what we were at (figures from a previous engineering estimate), about 700 dollars and some change originally, and now it’s down to about 266–and that’s without possible future funding–yes” Lamica said.

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