Moriah’s newest water district may pay dividends for the entire community.
The town has closed the books on the Forge Hollow-Elk Inn Road-Stone Street water project with $120,000 left over from a federal grant obtained to pay for the project.
Normally, leftover federal funds are returned to the federal government. Moriah officials, though, are asking to keep the money and use it in support of the new water district and the rest of the town water system.
“We’d like to use that money,” Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “That’s two new miles of infrastructure and 30 new users that will require maintenance — and we need a new backhoe.”
Moriah’s argument is that a new backhoe, purchased with the leftover money, will be used to support the new water district — although it could also be used in the rest of the community.
“That water (Forge Hollow-Elk Inn Road-Stone Street) has to flow through other districts to get there,” Scozzafava said. “The water districts are inter-dependent. I think this makes sense.”
The town received a $1.9 million grant to create a water district in the Forge Hollow, Elk Inn Road and Stone Street area.
There are about 30 homes in the area. The town had not formed a water district there because the state would not approve it, citing the high cost of construction for a small number of homes.
A village of Port Henry water transmission line runs through the area. Although the water is untreated at that point — and the area is outside the village limits — the village supplied those residents with water for the last 50 years.
However, after several illnesses linked to the untreated water were reported, Scozzafava said, the state Department of Health ordered the village to cease providing the untreated water. The town of Moriah then sought a hardship grant from the state.
The grant, federal money awarded through the state, was approved.
Thanks to the grant, the water project has no impact on the town budget or water rates. The Forge Hollow, Elk Inn Road and Stone Street area residents pay $280 a year for water, the same as other Moriah residents.
The extended water service will help the town as a whole, Scozzafava explained. The new water customers will pay a portion of the costs to operate the water filtration plant, which will lower that expense for others. The water service will also make that area available for construction, which would add to the town tax base.
“There’s a lot of vacant land in that area,” Scozzafava said. “With water available the area can be developed. I hope we’ll see some new homes built there.”