ILION, N.Y.-- After a 45-minute public hearing, the village board of Ilion voted to raise water rates by 10 percent Wednesday night.
The rate hike will be included as the board prepares their 2018-2019 village budget.
Officials said the money collected from the rate hike will fund a study by engineering firm Barton & Loguidice to determine the most efficient method of updating the village sewer system. With the firm's recommendations in place, village trustees claim applying for state aid will become easier.
"Once we have the information on what to do, we then move directly to the design phase," Kalman Socolof, a village trustee said. "Once you have a design, then you're in a position to go for grants to help underwrite the construction work that needs to be done."
Taxpayers at the public hearing questioned the village's move to pay for another study, citing problems with firm recommendations in prior water projects.
"I think we got bad advice," Bonnie Coffin, an Ilion resident said. "An engineering firm is responsible to research an entire project, every aspect of it, and they didn't do that because they suggested the wells and they were a huge failure."
Mayor Terry Leonard said the village wells are overwhelming the aging water pipes in the city. At the public hearing, Leonard would not comment on possible litigation against the previous engineering firm for their well design, saying only that it "was certainly not out of the realm of possibility."
Looking ahead, officials said the studies are worth the expense if future administrations continue to apply for state help.
"I can only hope that continuing administrations push these things and I hope the residents push future administrations to keep this path rolling forward," Leonard said.