Thursday, October 17, 2002

Wanted or not, water line will be installed

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

UNION TOWNSHIP - More than half the residents of Baldwin Road and Baldwin Woods Trail don't want county water service on their street.

But they're getting it anyway, and they're being charged almost $6,700 for it.

"It's an assessment," said Jim Wiederhold, one of the residents opposed to the water line. "But to me, they can name it anything they want, but it's a mortgage on your property without you having a say in it."

The water line became an issue last November when residents signed a petition requesting the county look at putting a water main in the area. But most of the residents aren't concerned about hooking into it; rather, it's an issue of fire protection.

The idea was abandoned when estimates for the project came in at almost $11,000 per homeowner.

The county reworked the plan, reduced the price, and more homeowners came on board.

Last week, the county commissioners voted unanimously to approve the reduced project as long as easements to install the water line could be obtained.

But the cost has to be picked up by the homeowners.

Only if the water line creates a benefit to the county's overall system, either by creating a loop or increasing water pressure, will the county cover the cost, said County Administrator David Spinney.

If the project goes forward, the cost would be added to the homeowners' property taxes for 20 years.

Carol Glotfelter of Baldwin Woods Trail was one of the original petitioners.

For her, the fire protection is worth the $6,700.

"There've been two house fires within a few miles of us where people have died in the last five years," she said. "There's no way to protect these houses without a fire hydrant."

But Albert Berger, of Baldwin Road, feels differently.

"We are basically a community of working class people, and there's been no consideration of that."

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