TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga has lost a grant to purchase water meters for the town, but water meters may still be in the community's future.
Supervisor Bob Dedrick said he has been informed the $4.17 million grant offered to the community by the state Environmental Facilities Corporation is no longer available. The grant money was to been used to install water meters.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency was providing the money to the state through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"It seems that the EPA did not come through with the amount it said it would and most of the available grants went to New York City," Dedrick said. "They complimented the town for its foresight and felt bad for any community that funding was cut."
Earlier Ticonderoga received a $3.25 million federal stimulus grant for infrastructure work.
"But I do not want the residents to think we did not receive our fair share of ARRA money," Dedrick said. "We did receive a $3.25 million dollar grant for infrastructure work in district 5 and also for the sewer treatment plant which is now being worked on. I think that EFC felt that a total of $7.4 million for one small community in the state was too much."
The plan to install water meters in Ticonderoga sparked heated debate. Proponents felt meters would conserve water and lower costs. Opponents feared higher water costs.
The loss of the grant means water meters are not in Ti's immediate future - but meters may be in the town's future, according to Dedrick.
The town is facing a costly project at Gooseneck Pond reservoir. Cost estimates for the project are as high as $30 million.
Grant money for that project will largely depend on Ti having water meters in place, the supervisor said.
"This is going to be critical to the town's future," Dedrick said. "The state and EPA (federal Environmental Protection Agency) want every community to have water meters as a way of conserving water. They aren't going to be giving grants to communities that aren't metered."
That means Ti residents will either have to pay for the installation of water meters or pay for the Gooseneck project, Dedrick said.
Dedrick said he was notified by the state in August that Ti had been awarded the grant money through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The stimulus money would have paid for the installation of water meters at all residential and commercial locations in the community.
After listening to emotional debate on both sides of the issue, the board voted to accept the grant to install the water meters without a definite plan for using them.
Water customers in Ti now pay $322 a year. If meters are installed, Dedrick explained, eventually a per gallon rate will be established and customers will be billed only for the water they actually use.