Town of Watertown water district is for sale, met with hesitancy by the town

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 5:40 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - For sale is a water district now privately owned, with that person hoping the Town of Watertown will take it over.

The water district serves 118 homes in the Town of Watertown, and it’s owner, James Lettiere, has offered the 60-year old system to the town for $500,000. Why? Well he says he’s getting older and wants the town to adequately maintain the system. “This is sincere. I just think it’s best if the people had it,” said Lettiere.

But not everyone agrees with Lettiere’s offer.

Town of Watertown Supervisor Joel Bartlett says the water system is too old.

“Number one reason is it’s period of probable uselessness has long since expired. It’s an aged system,” said Bartlett.

And bringing it up to where Bartlett thinks it needs to be would be no small task, costing both time and money.

“You’d have to rebuild it all in it’s entirety. That could cost several million dollars to do that,” said Bartlett.

Lettiere, on the other hand, says his system is in good shape, saying he has done regular maintenance on it, so to him the offer is more than fair.

“What I’m asking for this thing now $500,000. You’ll have to pay that just to lawyers and engineers to get a new system,” said Lettiere.

At least one of the families living on the Lettiere trail says the town should make the purchase. The Blairs have been living along it for about 3 years now and they say they have a right to public water.

“There are other areas of the town where there’s public water. I think we are deserving of it, that’s all,” said Michael Blair.

If the town bought it, and spread the cost over 15 years for the 118 customers, Lettiere says it would cost each customer $400 a year.

The Blair’s would welcome the sale, hoping it would end issues they’ve had in the past.

“We couldn’t bathe for a few hours and we were expecting a picnic here. We were trying to cook food. So for convenience, yes,” said Laurene Blair.

Lettiere tells us he’s willing to keep paying for the system, but he’s getting older and the more he has to outsource maintenance work, the more the cost will jump.