Lanesborough officials to discuss future of water supply

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LANESBOROUGH — The Select Board and Fire and Water District Commission will meet tonight regarding the future of the public water supply serving the village.

The selectmen are expected to broach the concept of the town taking over the district that currently operates independent of the municipality. The three-member commission oversees the district and it's four-person staff.

Select Board Chairman John Goerlach says one advantage of the merger is the town has a higher bond rating than the district. A higher bond rating could lead to more favorable interest rates for borrowing money to pay for infrastructure improvements.

The joint gathering will take place at 6 p.m. in the lower level of Newton Memorial Town Hall.

Two years ago, the town took over the district's collection of water bill payments. In their 2017 Annual Report, commissioners said the move saved the district money and was more convenient for customers.

The board and commission also plan to discuss the private water system serving Berkshire Village. The 40 or so homeowners had hoped the town could have secured a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan on their behalf to help fund a $1.8 million project to rebuild the aging infrastructure and hook up to the district water system. The USDA nixed the idea, telling town officials late last year that Lanesborough has to own the system in order to obtain the federal funding. Town and district officials hope to brainstorm on the next financial steps for the project.

"Where to go for money and whether we can get the money," Goerlach said.

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