Brookfield voters overwhelmingly approved the construction of the Southern Water Line in Tuesday’s referendum, voting 2,361 to 1,334 to allow the town to appropriate to businesses and residents desperately in need of a viable water source.
The referendum passed at both polling places — 687 to 465 at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School and 1,574 to 833 at Brookfield High School — in absentee balloting — 90 to 35 — and among property owners not registered to vote in Brookfield, who approved it 10 to 1. (Non-registered property owners are allowed to participate in any vote having to do with town spending.)
The users along the line will pay the cost, which includes $1 million in contingency (meaning the eventual bill could be considerably less), over the life of a 20-year bond. The assessments for each individual property will be determined in accordance with once the project is closed out.
First Selectman Bill Davidson said Wednesday that it was still too early in the process to set a timeline for the project moving forward but the engineers at CCA in Brookfield will begin putting together the bid specs starting next week. Davidson also stated that he has scheduled a meeting next week with Aquarion Water Company, which will be managing the line once it is built and handling certain improvement costs, such as the new water tower.
“We’ll be getting into more detail next week,” he said, but was hopeful that construction would begin in the spring and the town would “get this done before the winter of ’12.”
“My aspiration is we could get this done before next next winter sets in, but I’m not sure how realistic that really is,” he added, as construction projects, especially those involving water, can be an immense undertaking.
CCA engineer Steve Sullivan said he thinks the December 2012 timeline is "pretty realistic," as the major "stumbling blocks that happen occur with getting approval from the state."
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) and Public Utility Control Authority (PURA) are familiar with the Southern Water Line, especially with respect to getting clean water to the residents of Sandy Lane Condominiums.
"They know how important this is, especially to the people of Sandy Lane," Sullivan said, stating that he expects the state regulators will expedite the permit process.
The next step for the town is to get approval from the local zoning and wetland commissions before bringing the final designs to the state.