Troy Township trustees have asked Delaware City Council to change its annexation policy for homeowners to obtain city water.
The reason the policy change is being brought up is due to a well field on Penry Road used to supply the city’s water treatment plant. The plant went online last December.
“Prior to the installation of the Penry Road well field, the residents in the Buttermilk Hill, Hills-Miller and Troy roads area had minimal problems with their wells,” a May 5 letter from trustees states. “After the well field was installed and reached a higher sustained operating capacity, the residents in this area have experienced wells going dry, wells pumping dirty/muddy water and other well problems.”
In the letter, trustees asked the city to “amend its current policy of requiring non-city residents sign an agreement to annex into the corporation limits within 10 years of obtaining city water or at the point of sale is the residence has city water.”
Trustees Loren Pool, Doug Price and Earl Lehner want the city to “revise the current annexation policy in Troy Township to a policy that would require annexation when the city of Delaware sanitary sewer becomes available in the area or Troy Township where city water is available.”
The letter further states that township residents obtaining city water “will be paying a higher water fee than residents within” city limits.
The city has prepared a chronology of water service in the area. In 2003, the city paid residents who live in the Penry Road well field area $2,400 or $4,000 to pay for DEL-CO Water and city capacity fees in return for “a signed waiver from property owners releasing the city from any and all future liability with respect to the Penry Road well field operation.”
A year later, the city built an eight-inch water line on Buttermilk Hill, Coover and Troy roads, and property owners who connected to the line were “required to sign an agreement to annex once they are contiguous to the city.”
Then in 2011, the city built a 24-inch water main on Hills-Miller Road. Property owners on the north side of the road signed an agreement that they must annex into the city within 10 years from the issuance of the water connection permit or property is transferred, whichever comes first. The owners on the south side “signed an agreement to annex once they are contiguous to the city at the time a water connection permit is approved.”
Earlier this year, city staff met with two owners who live on Buttermilk Hill and Troy roads, outside of the Penry Road well field area, who said their wells’ water quality has been affected due to the well field. The cost to extend the city’s water lines are $150,000 (2,000 feet from the railroad tracks on Buttermilk Hill) and $400,000 (5,500 feet on Troy from Buttermilk Hill to Hills-Miller).
City Council discussed the matter at its meeting on July 6. The council members were split, with Andrew Brush voicing the strongest opinion, saying, “If they want water from us, they’ll have to annex.” There was also talk of drilling the wells deeper and using filters to remove high levels of iron in the water.
Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, City Manager Tom Homan and city Public Utilities Director Brad Stanton attended the Troy Township meeting Monday. Homan said there were no immediate plans to provide water service in the area.
Trustees noted that the city’s future growth would be more in the south than in Troy Township, which is north of the city and is predominantly rural with the Delaware Reservoir to the east. They said they appreciated the attendance of the city officials.
“Talking is better than getting your lawyer,” Pool said.
“We’re not anti-annexation,” Price said. “It’s up to the people to decide.”
“At first we were not received well,” Lehner said. “I’m happy you’re here, but that past can’t be forgotten.”
It was agreed that township officials would speak further on the matter at a future council meeting.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.