Winchester Awarded $4.29 Million in Federal Funding for Key Community Projects
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Water & Sewer Commission to Hold Referendum on Increased Infrastructure Costs; FAQs Posted

Posted on
December 29, 2022
by
Water Sewer Commission
Winsted Water Works is seeking to improve water mains, construct a replacement tank at Wallens Hill, and construct a redundant tank at the Crystal Lake Water Treatment Facility. The $6.2 Million spending authority approved at the initial referendum is not adequate based on actual bids received for each project.  The spending authority needs to be increased $2.3 Million to $8.5 Million to complete all three projects. Below you will see some Frequently Asked Questions, their associated answers, and a link to view more FAQs:

Why is there a referendum on the approval of additional water project costs coming up on Saturday, January 7, 2023?
An original borrowing authority of $6.2 million was granted to Winsted Water Works (WWW) in early 2021 to cover water line replacements and water storage tank replacements. Since that time, inflation has been rampant, and the estimated costs to complete all projects have increased by $2.3 million. The Water & Sewer Commission is holding this referendum to ask the public if they will approve additional expenditures of $2.3 million to allow for all the improvements to be made to the water system that were originally approved in 2021. If the increased borrowing is not approved, the Water & Sewer Commission will have to cut back on the projects and not replace the Crystal Lake storage tank at this time.

For which projects is an additional borrowing authorization needed?
Addition of a 690,000-gallon water storage tank to the Crystal Lake Water Treatment plant on Route 263. The existing 25-year-old 1,000,000 gallon storage tank requires rehabilitation. While this tank is being repaired, the new tank will allow the treatment system to continue to operate undisturbed. It will serve as additional storage for the water system when it has been repaired. See Crystal Lake Water Tank at https://www.townofwinchester.org/entities/water-sewer-commission-6 for more information.

What is the condition of the Crystal Lake storage tank? 
The exterior of the tank needs some minor surface coating work, the interior has some damage and needs, at the very least, to have new coating installed.

How will these projects preserve or improve water quality? 
The second tank at Crystal Lake will provide a redundant tank that allows the existing tank to be taken off-line and repaired; it brings storage capacity to the 2 to 3 days that is recommended by industry standards when both tanks are on-line. The Wallens Hill tank provides water to maintain a pressure in the high elevations including Florence St and Regional 7 School.

How much will water rates increase because of the debt service on the loans? 
The water rates in place on January 1, 2021 were adequate to fund debt service for $6.2 million of DWSRF loans/subsidy package to pay for these three projects. The rate will also be able to pay for the increased $2.3 million borrowed, which is to be voted on at referendum. Consequently, no rate increase is required specifically to cover costs associated with these capital improvement projects.

Why should a town resident who obtains water from a well be concerned about this referendum? 
The full faith and credit of the Town will be used to secure repayment of the DWSRF loans used to finance these projects. The improved water quality supplied to all public facilities and businesses in town will be preserved by these improvements. Developers always evaluate community water and sewer resources before making any investment decisions. A vibrant downtown, industrial park, and outlying commercial area is important to maintaining Winchester’s economy. The more commercial and industrial development that comes to town, the lower the tax burden will be on residential inhabitants of the town.
 
How do I learn more about these projects?
You can attend our informational meeting at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, in the Hicks Room at Town Hall to hear more in-person, or you can go online to https://www.townofwinchester.org/entities/water-sewer-commission-6 for more information.
 
How do I have my say on this proposal?
ALL individuals eligible to be registered voters in Winchester and property owners who own more than $1,000 in assessed value are able to vote in the referendum on Saturday, January 7, 2023. Polls are open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM at Pearson School at 2 Wetmore Ave, Winsted, CT 06098.


More Questions? Read the full FAQ by following the link below:
https://www.townofwinchester.org/entities/water-sewer-commission-6