FORESTVILLE – Some residents of Creek Road in Forestville have been facing the loss of a water line that had been part of the village’s transmission system for more than 100 years.
The problem was that their homes were located outside the limits of the village, and a new water line and new source was limited to covering village residents.
Mayor Kevin Johnson acknowledged that village leaders knew the Creek Road residents would be cut off from the supply. He said letters went out to all the property owners about 15 months ago. “I own property there myself, and I had to drill a well to get water,” the mayor said.
The residents of the 12 homes on the road asked the village to keep the old line running, but since it was connected to a spring system that the Chautauqua County Health Department wanted decommissioned, the village had to disconnect. Johnson said village officials knew this would be a financial burden to the families so they stopped charging them for water more than a year ago. He said residents were told they could use the line for as long as the county would allow it.
Johnson said the county demanded that it be “capped and sealed” about a month ago.
He said that to his knowledge, only one family had not been connected to a private well before the shut-off. They are currently on their third attempt to get a well that will pass health department guidelines.
Creek Road resident Arlene Miller said that she and her husband paid nearly $7,000 for a well. She said they also had to add a water-softening system and an electric pump.
“All our costs are higher,” she said.
Miller confirmed that the Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corp. is helping some of her neighbors with financing the costs for the water wells. She said she and her husband didn’t qualify for help because they hired a contractor before they applied for assistance.
“We held off shutting off the line as long as possible to try to allow some people to get funding through CHRIC,” Johnson said.
The remaining family without a water source wanted the village to provide about 250 gallons of water every other day. “That’s just too much for us to do,” the mayor said. “We are willing to help but 750 gallons a week seems like a lot of water to me, and we just don’t have an easy way to supply it.”
Johnson added, “We really tried to help everyone as much as possible. The village just is not in a position to be able to do much more.”
Forestville received a $150,000 loan from Chautauqua County to help reduce this year’s property tax bill for residents. The village was faced with several hundred thousand dollars in debts from demolishing a structure and from financing water loans. Its next phase of debts is about $6 million for its new water system.