GUILFORD -- A long-planned water connection between Brattleboro and Guilford is scheduled for completion next month.
While construction is causing some inconvenience for drivers in Algiers Village, officials say the project is an important step for safety and economic development.
"This will be a big help to the village as a whole," said Anne Rider, a Guilford Selectboard member.
The project initially was conceived as a single line along Route 5 from the Brattleboro border to Algiers.
"This goes back at least two years," Rider said. "Originally, that was a project that was going to be funded entirely through private money and grants."
The line is expected to cost more than $500,000. A $365,000 federal appropriation secured by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is a major funding source.
Also, Windham & Windsor Housing Trust owns residential properties that will connect to the water line, and the organization is contributing financially. Guilford Selectboard on Monday approved water-connection agreements with two partnerships organized under the housing trust.
But public financing also entered the mix when officials decided in 2011 to explore the idea of expanding the new water line so that it could reach Guilford Volunteer Fire Department and Guilford Community Church.
It made financial sense to include those extensions in the overall water-line project, Rider said.
"If we paid for them at another
Officials proposed borrowing up to $195,000 for the extensions, and that "passed overwhelmingly" at this year’s town meeting, Rider said. Officials noted this week that, even with that debt payment figured in, Guilford’s tax rate did not rise for this fiscal year.
And they are touting the line’s benefits. Rider said the church, which holds community events and also serves as the town’s emergency shelter, needed a better water source.
The same is true for the fire station on Guilford Center Road.
"It’s a relatively new building," Rider said. "And because there was no town water, it wasn’t able to have a sprinkler system."
Brattleboro will maintain the new line, and Guilford will handle billing. While no one is required to hook into the new line, about 35 connections are expected initially, said Katie Buckley, Guilford’s town administrator.
The water line is progressing quickly and is expected to be finished by the middle of September, Rider said.
"Once you get things laid out, it’s pretty straightforward," she said.
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.