A group of northern New Castle residents who receive their water from Mount Kisco may soon be able to switch over to the town's water supply.
Under a proposal that will get a public hearing and vote on Tuesday by the New Castle Town Board, residents, who live on High Ridge Road and Croton Avenue, would become part of a new water district. A total of 35 parcels, located just over the town line with Mount Kisco, would be placed in the district. A small number of parcels on High Ridge that are in the village would still receive Mount Kisco water.
The switch would be financed for through New Castle issuing about $240,000 in bonds, with district residents paying the cost back over time. The annual cost for district residents would be $77 per thousand cubic feet (kcf) of water, plus a "capital cost fee" of $590 per household for a 15-year period. This in contrast to what other New Castle residents who get town water pay, which is $46 kcf and a "small" tax for capital projects.
Still, the new annual billing would be a large drop from what is paid now to Mount Kisco. The village, which also services a number of New Castle and Bedford residents, charges a non-village resident rate that is double what Mount Kisco residents pay. People who live in the village pay a rate of up to $69.83 per 1,000 cub feet, according to Mount Kisco Village Manager James Palmer. New Castle's estimated cost cut for residents is a drop of half.
The large gap is what led to the plan to break away from the village/s water supply, officials in both municipalities explained, along with a desire to get higher water pressure.
Rob Fine, who has lived on Highridge for about nine years, has spent a long time working to change the situation of his neighborhood. It was only in the last two years or so that things began to change.
"We're very excited," Fine said about the proposed district.
The lower water pressure is a particular problem for residents who live at the top of Highridge, whose street name is eponymous to its topgraphy. Because of the higher elevation, electric-powered pumps are needed to carry water up, which are vulnerable during outages, Fine explained.
Getting higher-pressure water is also expected to help with providing fire protection to the neighborhood. Residents in the proposed district are served by Mount Kisco's fire department.
Mount Kisco tried to find a solution for affected residents, Palmer wrote to Patch. This included looking to see if New Castle could provide services to Mount Kisco in exchange for lowering the water rates.
"Unfortunately, no equitable solution was found," Palmer added.
One concern about if the rates were reduced, Palmer explained, is that other New Castle residents, along with those in Bedford who receive the village's water, would still have been paying double. This would have created an inconsistency among non-resident water users.
Palmer would prefer that Mount Kisco retain the residents, but noted that other non-village properties could be added to the village's water system in the future.
"It is unfortunate," he wrote. "However, other residential and commercial properties outside of Mt. Kisco have expressed a desire to connect to our water supply. The Village is about to undertake a safe yield analysis to review existing consumption levels and to determine how supply levels would be impacted by the loss of some users but the addition of others."
New Castle Town Administrator Penny Paderewski explained that construction could start in late April, with the homes receiving the town's water by July 1.
A public hearing and district approval resolution are scheduled for Tuesday's New Castle Town Board meeting, which starts at 8:45 p.m. at New Castle Town Hall in Chappaqua. The board will also hold votes on the project's financing and to approve a contractor for the work.