Ticonderoga is conducting a door-to-door income survey as part of its water project, while warning residents not to be confused by solicitations. The town has hired Liz Tedford to canvas the community in hopes of completing an income survey that is key to grant funding for the $13.8 million project.
Ticonderoga is conducting a door-to-door income survey as part of its water project, while warning residents not to be confused by solicitations.
The town has hired Liz Tedford to canvas the community in hopes of completing an income survey that is key to grant funding for the $13.8 million project.
Confidential income surveys were sent to water customers in October. Officials had hoped to complete the survey work last fall, but to date only about 60 percent of the surveys have been returned. To be eligible for the grant funding, 65 percent of the surveys must be completed.
“I know some people don’t like providing this information,” Supervisor Deb Malaney said, “but it’s entirely confidential. The surveys are numbered, there are no names, and they go directly to the IDA (Essex County Industrial Development Agency) in Elizabethtown. No one here will see them.
“We need those surveys in order to save the community money,” she said.
Tedford will have identification when she visits homes and is working at the direction of the town board.
That is not the case with HomeServe USA Repair Management Corp. It is a Miami, Fla.-based company that sells insurance to cover home repairs. It has an office in Albany. The firm recently sent letters to many Ticonderoga residents warning of costly water service repairs and offering financial protection at a cost of $64.08 a year. It asks residents to sign up for the coverage and submit credit card payment.
Tonya Thompson, Ticonderoga town clerk, said many local people have contacted her office believing HomeServe USA is somehow related to the town and the ongoing water project.
Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney urged residents to be careful in dealing with the company. Ticonderoga has no connection to HomeServe USA, she stressed.
“This is extremely misleading,” Malaney said.
Thompson has contacted the Ticonderoga Police Department and the state Attorney General’s office to investigate HomeServe USA’s actions in Ticonderoga.
Ticonderoga officials hope to drill test wells this month, another key step in a $13.8 million water project for the community.
Engineers have identified possible groundwater sites and town officials are presently negotiating with property owners for use of the land. Test wells will be drilled to determine whether the locations have the capacity to meet local demand.
“We’ve identified the sites, now it’s a question of how much water is there,” trustee Jeff Cook said. “Our engineers are confident they will find plenty of water.”
In 2009 the state Department of Health ordered Ti to replace or cover the Gooseneck reservoir, which was created in 1931. The town developed a plan to replace the reservoir with tanks, but an inspection discovered problems with the Gooseneck dam and with transmission lines.
Gooseneck was designed to serve the entire town, but over time demand exceeded Gooseneck’s capacity. In 1965 a Lake George water supply was developed for emergency use. Eventually Lake George water became necessary to meet daily demand.
During a recent inspection the state also found problems at the Baldwin Road filtration plant that handles Lake George water.
At the urging of state officials, Ticonderoga then began considering an upgrade of the entire water system, utilizing groundwater sources. Preliminary engineering studies have identified five possible aquifers in Ticonderoga that could be water sources.
Malaney said the project is on schedule to be completed in 2015. Construction is expected to begin in 2013.
“The state is giving us two years,” Malaney said. “It’s a tight schedule, but we’re OK.”
The estimated $13.8 million price tag is actually a bargain. The state Department of Health has ordered Ticonderoga to either replace Gooseneck or cover it. Covering the reservoir carries an estimated cost of $31 million. The state has also ordered repairs to the Lake George water system that could cost another $12-24 million.
Ticonderoga has been declared a hardship case by the state, which makes it eligible for a no-interest loan to cover the project. That’s good news, but local officials are hoping for grant money with the help of residents who complete the confidential income surveys.
Information on the project is available on the town website at www.townofticonderoga.com