Kendall town officials say currently too costly to expand water lines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 February 2023 at 3:05 pm

Grants not keeping pace with rising construction costs

Photo by Tom Rivers: Kendall Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata said town officials will keeping pursuing state and federal funds to help expand public water in the community.

KENDALL – The Town Board remains determined to expand public water in the community, but Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata said rising construction costs are making the projects too expensive right now.

Kendall will need bigger grants and very favorable loan terms to make the projects affordable for residents, Cammarata said at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.

The state comptroller sets the affordability for public water projects at $1,040 in annual expense to residents. That includes the cost of water and any debt towards a waterline.

Recent estimates from LaBella Associates put the projects at $1,400 to $1,500 annually – too high for many residents, Cammarata said.

He responded to two residents during Tuesday’s meeting who said they have been asking for public water for several years now.

Truda Slucum of Lakeshore Road would like to be included in the town’s next water project – Water District No. 11.

Beverly Robinson of Lakeshore Road also asked to be included, said the area suffers from sulfur in wells.

Cammarata has been town supervisor for about 10 years. The town has completed four districts during that tenure. But he said they are getting tougher to do as the construction costs rise dramatically.

He is scheduled to meet Congressman Joe Morelle today and would send the message to increase federal grants for the projects. Cammarata also said the town needs low-interest loans through the federal Rural Development, which are 38 years instead of 30. That helps bring down the annual payment to stay below the comptroller’s threshold.

Cammarata said forging ahead now with a district at a $1,500 annual cost to residents would result in “a lot of pushback” because the cost would be too much for many residents.

He said Kendall will continue to look at options to get more public water lines in the ground, including whether smaller districts make a difference in lowering the annual debt costs.

“We’re trying,” he said. “I truly believe to move Kendall ahead you have to have water. We’re going to have grovel to get some funding.”

County Legislator John Fitzak attended the meeting and said residents should consider writing letters to state and federal representatives, explaining the difficulties with their well water. Those testimonials could make a difference, Fitzak said.

“I would suggest a grass-roots efforts with water,” he said about writing the letters. “We need money. Don’t forget us because we pay taxes like everyone else.”