Amity receives $1.5 federal loan for water but user rates remain an issue

USDA Rural Development has approved a loan of $1.514 million for the Town of Amity to support creation and construction associated with a new water district, but the 13-year-old effort appears to still be a question due to high overall project costs which would have to be borne by users.

Congressman Nick Langworthy announced the financing this afternoon, saying that “creation of this new water district is a transformative project for Amity,” with the federal investment ensuring that “hundreds of residents have access to safe and reliable water services.”

The loan, part of the federal Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grant program, is designed to benefit 238 town residents outside the Village of Belmont, with a 2.25 percent interest rate being paid back over a 38-year term.

The estimated project cost and annual loan repayments, however, has been of significant concern to town board members in that some users would be required to pay several hundred dollars more each year for their shares of the financing during the entire loan period.

Both the village and town boards have discussed the issue often, with the village having sought the district to enable it to obtain timely payment of water bills, particularly from those who fail to pay on a regular basis.

The issue was raised again at Monday night’s town board meeting, before the loan award apparently was known, with former board and current planning board member Donald Skinner saying that district development has been in various stages of process for at least 13 years.

Town Supervisor John Francisco told board members last month that the loan had been applied for as a fallback position in event other means of funding, which would lower the user costs, fail to become available.

The entire cost of the project would be borne by residents of the new district, with the village continuing to supply the water.