County soliciting bids to extend water lines

Project would provide service to all or part of Maple Crest subdivision

February 25, 2000|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The Carroll commissioners are seeking bids to extend Westminster water lines to Maple Crest, a 30-year-old subdivision south of the county seat that has struggled with water problems for years.

The neighborhood has no public water and residents rely on private wells. Some wells run low part of the year and others go dry during periods of drought. More than a few have dried up, forcing residents to bear the costly burden of trucking in water.

The county is seeking bids that would show the costs of extending water lines under two scenarios. In the first, service would be extended only to a small section of the neighborhood -- to the homes on Woodland Drive and Wayne Avenue. In the second, service would be extended to the entire neighborhood, which also includes Maplecrest Drive and Hook and Kolbe roads.

The county would finance the work, but residents would have to reimburse the county over 20 years -- unless grant money can be acquired for the project.

The county might be able to apply to the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Department of the Environment for funds. To be considered, 50 percent of the residents receiving service would have to demonstrate that they earn low to moderate incomes, ranging from $33,450 per year for one person to $63,100 for a family of eight.

Slightly fewer than 50 percent of the residents who responded to an income survey fall in that range. Several residents have not provided their income information to the county. The neighborhood has about 50 homes. As of yesterday, the county had received 36 income surveys.

If state funding is not available and the commissioners choose to move forward with the project, each of the property owners affected by the extension would be required to pay for the work. Those who choose to hook up to the public water system would have to pay an additional $3,700 to Westminster in connection and service fees.

About 35 residents attended a public meeting to discuss the water issues last month. A survey of letters sent to the county after the meeting indicated 29 property owners -- most of them residents of Wayne Avenue and Woodland Drive -- supported extending water lines to the neighborhood. Fifteen were opposed and 15 were undecided.

Many homeowners at the meeting said they would have to weigh the cost against the severity of their water problems.

Maple Crest is one of three dozen Carroll communities identified by the county Health Department as having water or sewer problems and, in some cases, both. Most are rural villages: older, unincorporated, residential communities in agricultural zones. The communities include Detour, Union Mills, Mayberry, Lineboro and Uniontown.

The county allocated $40,000 during the past two years to study the communities to find out the scope of water and sewer problems.

In other business, the commissioners voted to contribute $32,000 for the construction of a skateboarding facility at Christmas Tree Park in Manchester in fiscal 2001, which begins July 1. The project is scheduled to be done in fiscal 2003.

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