The South East Water Tower project has finally made some progress as City Council approved two land agreements that could become the future site of the tower. Although several attempts at reaching an agreement with local land owners have been made over the past four years, it was not until recently that the City of Milford was able to secure land for the installation of test wells, which are necessary to determine if the water quality and quantity is acceptable for the construction of a water tower.
On January 14, 2008 the City of Milford adopted a resolution approving long-term debt in the amount $10,000,000 to fund various improvement projects including the Inflow and Infiltration Sewer Project, electrical improvements to the City of Milford grid and the construction of a water tower in the South East Region of the City. The issuance of the 2008 Bonds was submitted to voter referendum on February 23, 2008 by special election and approved by the electorate. After four years of discussion and little success, the future of this project seemed to be very doubtful in the eyes of many Milford residents and members of City Council.
“The taxpayers have been paying an increased water rate since the referendum to pay for this project,” stated Councilman Garret Grier during a City Council meeting on October 24, 2011. “There needs to be some progress made on this project now.”
City of Milford records indicate that since 2008 a percentage of the water rate increases were earmarked to pay for the water tower project and the debt associated with the loan. In Fiscal Year 2011-2011 Budget $231,000 had been deposited into Account 361-20-10, Balance of new Debt. The account saw deposits put into the Balance of New Debt Fund each year since the referendum: Fiscal Year 2011-2012, $231,000; Fiscal Year 2010-2011, $231,000; Fiscal Year 2009-2010, $311,810; Fiscal Year 2008-2009, $324,000.
With money already in reserve for the South East Water Tower project Councilman Garret Grier, Councilman Owen Brooks and Economic Development Executive Director Richard Carmean have been able to move the direction of the project forward by working with local land owners in the South East Region of Milford.
At the City Council meeting on November 14 Councilman Grier presented a proposed agreement that he facilitated between the City of Milford and the owners of a parcel of land known as the Hall Property, located just West of Route 1 in the South East Region. With several unsuccessful deliberations with land owners of other properties over the past four years, Mr. Grier began looking at other sites in the area that were viable options for the construction of the water tower. The agreement to place test wells on the Hall Property was approved by City Council unanimously during the November 14 meeting.
The City of Milford presented a second land agreement proposal for test wells on a separate parcel of land located on the East side of Route 1 in the South East Region, held by MBT Land Holdings. The agreement to place test wells on this property was also approved by City Council unanimously during the November 14 meeting.
Now with two proposals on the table, City Council has moved the progress of this project from stagnant to active during a single session. City Council has decided to pursue both properties and move forward with the installation of test wells on both properties for the purpose of determining the water quality and long term production capacity of the aquifers. Results of the water quality and capacity testing will be the basis for determining the feasibility for installation of the additional improvements.
“The City will be installing test wells on the properties of Mr. Hall and Mr. Fannin to determine which site has the best quality and quantity of water,” commented City Manager David Baird. “Based on these findings this Council will determine which property to move forward on.”