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ROADS REPAIRED, BUT WATER PRESSURE STILL A PROBLEM

Residents of Colony Park in the northwest corner of Orchard Park have smooth, well-drained roads again -- and the town spent less money than it planned to fix them.

But the nagging problem of low water pressure seems as far from resolution as ever, according to town Engineer Michael Merritt.

"We are designing the new connection system right now. We could go to bid in January or February and get it built within a month or so," Merritt said.

"But until the new Town Board takes office and negotiates a bulk water agreement with the Erie County Water Authority, we cannot let the bids. We can't build a connection if we won't be allowed to connect to a water supply," he added.

About 130 homes, 80 in the subdivision and the rest in the area off Webster Road, are affected. They've endured dribbling showers and hard-to-flush toilets for several years as water pressure slowed to a trickle, in part because of commercial development along Southwestern Boulevard.

They also endured permanently pot-holed and poorly drained roads.

Residents of Liberty, Imperial, Emerson and Berkley drives for several years have asked that their streets be fixed. This year the board approved the project, which started in August and was declared completed this week.

Holmes and Murphy, a local construction firm, "will finish restoring lawns in the spring," Merritt told the Town Board Wednesday. He said the firm came in $26,000 under budget on the project, which cost a total of $856,000.

The cure for the water woes is estimated to be $50,000, and Merritt says that could be done by spring if a water agreement is signed.

Unfortunately the water authority and the town have been squabbling over who was responsible for the lower pressure in that area, and the water authority seems to want its model bulk-sales agreement in place.

Orchard Park is among a handful of hold-outs that feel that contract may be too one-sided in favor of the county-wide authority.

Other parts of the township also have lowered pressures, and the town wanted to do a comprehensive review of all its districts next year possibly seeking to consolidate them. It would like to finish that before it signs any long-term contracts for single districts. There are more than 40 individual water districts in the Town of Orchard Park. The village, also an Erie County Water Authority customer, has its own water district that serves several portions of the town that abut the village line.

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