BELLOWS FALLS -- The Bellows Falls Village Trustees awarded the Windsor office of an engineering consulting firm a service contract to design the second and final phase of a water system improvement project.

Dufresne Group, which had been tapped for the design of the first phase, will draft the design that will complete the project, which Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II said will consist of additional water main replacement within the village proper. Stearns also said a section of water main must be installed just north of the village on Route 5, though 4,400 feet of that water main has not yet been designed.

Stearns told the Reformer it is most important to first get the work done on a mile-and-a-half of state highway the Vermont government wants to mill and pave. He said the rest of the project could take three to five years to complete.

In a townwide election earlier this month, voters opted 307-164 in favor of an $8.2 million capital improvements bond for the water system project, which had been endorsed by the trustees and will not be funded by taxes. The water rate is expected to rise by roughly 18 percent, according to information from the village. The total water and fire protection rate will increase from $47.31 per month to $55.66 per month, excluding other non-project related items, for the typical homeowner with a $100,000 home. Water system customers and real estate owners benefiting from the village fire protection system will be the only ones paying for the project.


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It includes proposed improvements identified and prioritized on a report of the water system produced on March 28, 2012. The report was reviewed and approved by Vermont.

Stearns mentioned Dufresne Group was selected for the design at Tuesday's trustee meeting. It was the first item on the evening's agenda, though the meeting was delayed about 45 minutes until a third trustee (Colin James) arrived to make a quorum so the meeting could be called to order. Stearns said Trustees Andrew Smith, Charlie Hunter and James voted for the motion to grant the contract to Dufresne Group.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.