Jamaica to consider water an economic benefit

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JAMAICA — Proponents of a village water system believe it could spark more economic development and help with the local tax burden.

"The concern right now is, does the entire town of Jamaica recognize the economic advantages to the entire town for the village to have a sufficient water supply to attract more businesses?" said Select Board Chairman Paul Fraser.

Voters will decide if the town should fund a feasibility study at a special town meeting on Tuesday, at 7 p.m.

An informational meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, at 6:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held in Jamaica Town Hall.

The article specifically asks voters whether to "authorize the Select Board to spend $7,000 to hire the Dufresne Group to conduct a feasibility study for a town water supply project."

The Planning Commission put the project on the radar of residents and town officials last year when it updated the Town Plan.

A section in the document talks about engaging residents on the subject, and looking at federal and state funding sources.

"The vote is only for feasibility, for an engineer company to tell us whether it's even feasible," Fraser said. "We're just talking about drinking water now.

Wastewater is a whole other consideration."

The study will look at potential water sources as well as ways to get water to properties and fire hydrants. Fraser believes the biggest challenge in developing a system will be the geographic layout of the village.

Another issue involves affordability. One option could see only users paying for its construction by creating a fire district.

"It would be exorbitantly expensive for that small number of people to pay for it," Fraser said. "The feasibility study will tell us if there are ways to do it."

If the feasibility study is approved and a project is proposed, he expects voters will get a say on whether to move forward at a town meeting in the future.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays

at cmays@reformer.com, at a

@CMaysBR on Twitter and

802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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