September 10, 2018
Dear Ferndale Neighbors,
We are very excited that the opportunity to provide safe drinking water has presented itself once again. Your Water Board has been working on this project for many years and hope that with your support we will soon be able to see it to fruition.
The assorted grants and loans we are applying for are driven by the number of signups we can obtain. The public meeting that was held on August 30 resulted in about 40 new applications and deposits being received. One of the first questions we must answer when applying for a grant or loan is “How many customers can you show are interested in this project?” They compare that number with the total number of households to determine whether we qualify and if so, the amount of the grant or loan. We encourage you to complete your application and mail it with your check today!
We have received many questions about the project and will do everything possible to answer them to the very best of our ability. One of the first things to reiterate is that participation in the project is voluntary. No property owner will be required to sign up. We have been asked many times what the monthly cost will be. An answer to that question won’t be available until all the numbers are in. Those numbers include: number of sign-ups; total dollar value of grants which will affect the total dollar amount of funds we must borrow. The amount of grants and loans we’ll need can’t be determined until the engineers have completed their work to produce a project total. With a project of this magnitude, their work will take a while. However, while they are creating the plans and specifications, we will continue to apply for all sorts of grants that are available to us. There will essentially be two parts to your bill: the water usage and the debt reduction. The water usage will of course be up to you; the debt reduction will depend on how much we borrow, the interest rate we pay, whether the grant money is forgivable or will just have a low interest rate.
Another question that can’t yet be answered is how will your homeowners’ insurance rate be affected? The project will have to be completely operational before ISO issues the new rating figures to our West Pulaski Volunteer Fire Department. The new rating will include the fact that a supply of water is available but will also be based on the equipment used by the department. (This is another very good reason to support the Fire Department’s fund-raising efforts!) Then your insurance agency will calculate your new premium based on the new ISO rating.
Utility easements will be required to lay the pipeline. In most cases the line will be along the dedicated road right of way easement which is probably referred to in your legal description. A utility easement would likely be within the road right of way easement, however if it is not, it will probably run contiguous to the road right of way.
The cost to sign up after the project has begun will be higher. Not as a penalty, but because had we had the sign- ups who choose, for whatever reason, to wait and see, we could possibly have qualified for additional grants and/or lower interest rate loans. The project can’t advance at all if everyone were to choose to wait.
Each property owner will have differing costs to connect to the water source and run a line to their house. Several things come into play, the biggest factor being the distance from the source to the house and after that, the condition of the land, whether it is rocky or has lots of trees. As a homeowner, this cost could come under the category of home improvement and qualify for financing as you would finance a replacement heat and air system.
Your Board is grateful for your patience and understanding as we work for you to complete this task. We are all volunteers and are more disappointed than anyone that it has been such a long road to reach this point. However, are staying positive and look forward to the day we can turn the spigot on for safe drinking water in Ferndale!