GUILFORD -- Since a water connection was established with neighboring Brattleboro earlier this year, Guilford officials have been getting questions about connecting to the new pipeline.
They’re hoping to answer those inquiries at a public meeting that’s been scheduled for 5 p.m. Jan. 3 at Guilford Volunteer Fire Department.
"You can hear everything in one place at one time," Selectboard member Anne Rider said.
The pipeline, constructed with a mix of private and public funding, was finished several months ago and connects Brattleboro’s municipal water system with Algiers Village in Guilford.
Town voters approved borrowing up to $195,000 to construct two extensions reaching Guilford Volunteer Fire Department and Guilford Community Church.
But no one has been able to tap into the line yet as crews have worked to flush and test the system while also finishing a meter vault that required specially fabricated parts.
Connection is voluntary. Algiers-area residents and business owners who want to tap into the line will need to submit formal requests; officials expect to explain that process at the Jan. 3 session.
Rider said she is hopeful that potential customers won’t have to wait until spring to receive water.
"We are anticipating that people will be able to hook up throughout the winter," she said.
In the meantime, the Guilford Selectboard continues to address smaller aspects of the project.
Officials on Monday allocated $4,500 to Guilford Volunteer Fire Department so that firefighters can buy equipment needed to connect their trucks with seven new hydrants installed as part of the pipeline.
Jared Bristol, the department’s chief, said hydrant access is a major boost to firefighting efforts in Guilford.
"It’s a huge plus," Bristol said, adding that, even in times of drought, "its a known water source that’s going to be there."
The town’s allocation will come from the voter-authorized bond issue for the pipeline project. Selectboard members said they believed the spending was allowable because the hydrants are a critical component of the water line.
"It’s part of the system, so it makes sense to me," Rider said.
Officials also pointed out that the town is realizing "significant savings" because public money won’t be needed to extend water service inside the fire station.
Instead, the fire department eventually will construct that connection, Town Administrator Katie Buckley said.
"We saved in that way," Buckley said. "They’ll be able to work that out very easily for themselves."
Though not all pipeline invoices are in, officials say they’ve spent little more than half of the bond issue Guilford voters authorized. And they do not expect to tap into the full amount.
"There’s no way it’s going to be anywhere near $195,000," Buckley said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.