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Water district shrinks to just 2 towns

A proposed regional water district that initially boasted four towns, including the eastern end of Aurora, has shrunk in the last month to include just Aurora and Wales.

The scaled-back version of what could become Water District 19 now represents a $7.4 million project, down significantly from the original $13.9 million price tag that had been previously projected before the towns of Holland and Marilla bowed out of the initiative.

The Aurora Town Board on Monday agreed to establish the water district's revised boundaries for eastern Aurora and Wales and at the same time scheduled a Feb. 21 referendum on the water district.

Aurora residents of the district would pay an estimated $700 per year to cover the cost of public water and service hookup. In Wales, the estimated annual cost for residents would be about $800 per year.

The scaled-down project still would require a water tank and pumping station, said Bryan Smith, Aurora town engineer. Boundaries of the proposed district include all of Reuter Road and the eastern end of Lapham Road and Route 20A, spanning 80 parcels in Aurora. In Wales, public water would run to 270 developed parcels, including Route 20A to Woodchuck Elementary School and the areas of Two Road and Four Rod roads.

In Aurora's case, if residents approve the project, the town would be close to having public water service through 95 percent of the town. A small area near Knox State Park still would lack it.

It's expected that the state Environmental Facilities Corp. would help finance the work with 30-year, low-interest loans.

The larger regional water district had been crafted for the last two years, until concern about cost and other factors pushed two of the communities to withdraw.

In another matter, the Town Board referred a controversial patio home project proposed for Quaker Road to the town Planning and Conservation Board. The project has been renamed the Polo Grounds subdivision by Legacy Development of Amherst, formerly known as the Brandon Group.

Councilman Norman Suttell voted against the referral because of outstanding concerns about whether condominium property tax breaks could ultimately be granted for the 47-unit development.

If approved, the homes would be built just west of the village, opposite the Commerce Green Industrial Park.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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