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Lily Dale Assembly to pursue water district with the Town of Pomfret

FREDONIA – The Lily Dale Assembly, a private gated community in the Town of Pomfret, will seek a formal water district with the Town of Pomfret. Board members heard about the plan Wednesday at their regular meeting in Town Hall.

John Gullo, an attorney representing the Lily Dale Assembly, presented the proposal. Carl Carlco, an engineer, also provided information and said he has been evaluating concerns about the water distribution for Lily Dale, a community that is considered a spiritualist center. Every homeowner is assessed for water, Gullo said. The assembly is considered a religious corporation.

Carlco said the system was installed in the early 1900s and has many problems, including insufficient monitoring of the water quality. There are 241 connections in the Lily Dale community with about 800 residents in the summer. He said the water usage is higher in the summer.

Water is currently purchased from the Village of Cassadaga to supply the area. There is a master meter for the entire area, and maintenance is billed by the group to people who lease homes. Carlco said that county Health Department officials are in support of the formation of a water district. “It will be a substantial cost to replace the water meters and lines,” said Carlco.

The engineer and attorney said that being a district of the Town of Pomfret would help the community as it applies for funding for a project to improve the water system. Town Attorney Jeff Passafaro said costs for the district would be paid by residents. He said the entire property is owned by the Lily Dale Assembly and that residents lease the land for their homes. Passafaro said there needs to be a petition or a motion by the board with a permissive referendum in order to consider the official district. He indicated that working with a nonprofit religious corporation could present other concerns for the Town Board.

The town currently has a sewer district in the Assembly. Town Supervisor Don Steger said he has concerns about the residents being able to fund the cost of replacing the infrastructure in the area.

In other business before the board, water customers who live in the portion of the township that is outside the Village of Fredonia who previously received their bills from the village will start receiving bills from the town. The bills will be sent with the new billing period in June. All residents have received a letter explaining town rates and the schedule.

A water quality report for town water customers will be posted on the town’s website and is available for review in the town clerk’s office.

Eva Dawn Bashaw, town tax collector, said that bills from the 2015 town and county have been collected. She said the total warrant was $7.7 million, with $1.8 million paid to the town and the remainder as county taxes.

Fifth-grade students from Fredonia Middle School attended the meeting and requested permission to install a “Little Free Library” station at the Barker Street playground. The board supported the request. The students and staff from the middle school will maintain the station. Books can be dropped off and borrowed from the library box.