BUCKFIELD – A vote by residents on whether the water utility, currently an independent entity with its own charter, should become part of the town will be held later this year, possibly as a referendum vote in November, Town Manager Glen Holmes said Thursday.

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Bruce Hanley, R-Paris, that calls for the Buckfield Village Corp. to come under the auspices of the town was scheduled to be the focus of a work session either Thursday or today by the state Public Utilities Committee. “I think it will come out of the committee with a positive vote to pass,” Holmes said.

The committee would set a time frame in which town residents must vote on the issue. Holmes said such time frames are typically six months to one year.

“There will be a full and public hearing (prior to a vote) so residents are informed about what the cost is and what could be saved by doing this,” he said.

“From my personal point of view, I think it’s the right decision to make. There will be cost savings by (the water utility) being part of the town.”

The Buckfield Village Corp. last year asked the town to consider assuming control of the utility. “The selectmen voted to have me go forward and see what it would take to do that,” Holmes said. “The town is growing and people are demanding more services. (The utility) saw a need to increase what they provide.”

The water utility does not have an office, and its board members, water tester and bookkeeper operate from their homes. Holmes said providing services from the town office would not require additional staffing.

In addition, he said the utility currently outsources many jobs, such as repairing breaks in a water line. The town already owns the necessary equipment and has the personnel for such jobs.

“In a case like that, the town could go and dig that up, and it could be done for much less,” said Holmes.



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