By Michael Kloppenburg
A public hearing held to increase awareness and support for a Cass County water line extension project met enthusiasm last Tuesday at the Sangamon Valley Township Hall. Members of the Cass Rural Water District board attended to explain the project to potential customers and answer their questions. According to CRWD board member Laymon Carter, roughly one-third of the homeowners in the affected areas of the Sangamon Valley Township were in attendance. When the one hour meeting came to end, all those present signed up to get water from the proposed extension and pay a $250 fee up front. Another $250 will come due at construction.
“That’s pretty positive, we’re moving forward,” said Carter who earlier said it would be “incredible” to get the 37 households in the project area to buy water from CRWD and described the attendees as “enthused.”
According to CRWD board Chairman Jeff Cosner, the fees are needed to pay legal expenses and get the necessary easements.
CRWD Treasurer, Jim Dambacher, who spoke on the project, also boosted the project.
“We have an opportunity to get clean, abundant water out here,” said Dambacher.
Cosner said that because CRWD would begin paying legal fees and expenses, the project now need commitments from potential customers.
“We’re at the stage where we need to get folks to sign up and make a commitment,” said Cosner.
In discussing rates, Dambacher said the district has two major financial liabilities; water purchase from the Virginia water system United States Department of Agriculture loans. Despite this Dambacher and Cosner pointed out the district had not has a rate increase since before the Virginia treatment plant came online and also did not pass to CRWD customers a temporary five cent increase from Virginia to cover the cost of lime treatment equipment repairs. They said, however, the district does need customers.
In pointing out benefits to customers, Cosner said the water would be softened, residents would not need to use electricity to run a pump, which would also mean customers would still get water even if power is lost, and the need to buy drinking water would be eliminated. Property values would also increase.
The board members also said well-testing could potentially give the project a better chance to get grant money. If samples came back positive for certain contaminants such as bacteria and nitrates, the project may get health, life and safety money. The board members also reassured attendees that no one would come and shut down their well as a result of the tests.
Questions were asked about CRWD meters freezing in cold weather. Cosner said that two had frozen in the bitter cold this past winter but in both cases it was because the cover had not been tightly sealed. Cosner said if the cover is tightly sealed, there should be no problem.