WARE — Water will be a major topic of discussion at the Ware spring Town Meeting on Monday, May 13.

Residents will vote on changes to the town’s water bylaws and decide whether to spend the recommended $2.17 million on improving its infrastructure. The funding is a mixture of borrowing, free cash — previously allocated money not expended in prior years — and funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Looking at the proposed bylaw changes, Article 16 would adopt a stormwater bylaw. It would codify rules and regulations around how stormwater and runoff is directed and treated, preventing contamination of the town’s drinking water and the overwhelming of the stormwater infrastructure.

Similarly, Article 17 seeks to amend the towns zoning bylaws by including a Floodplain Overlay Zone. The changes would bring the town’s existing zoning bylaws into conformity with the state’s regulations.

The improvements include the use of $125,000 from the Water Enterprise Reserve to design the refurbishment of the water tanks on Church Street and Anderson Road, requested in article 18. Article 19 requests $2 million for the actual refurbishments, with $500,000 from the Water Enterprise Reserve and the remainder to be borrowed.

Ware Town Manager Stuart Beckley explained in an email to Reminder Publishing, “The water tanks are more than 20 years old. They do need to be cleaned and refurbished.” He assured, “There is no indication of failure.”

During a discussion regarding Article 19 at the April 30 Selectboard meeting, Finance Committee Chair Ken Willettesaid the town was in a “good position to go for bonding” and the board should not wait to request the funding at the fall Town Meeting, because a sewer treatment project “in the tens of millions” will be presented at that time. Beckley confirmed that the repayment of the bond would be taken from the Water Enterprise Reserve and the board agreed to move forward on it.

Continuing the theme of water infrastructure, Article 20 would use $50,000 from the Water Enterprise Reserve to create a townwide plan to measure and limit PFAS chemicals in keeping with pending regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

There are other infrastructure articles not related to the town’s water system. Article 21 asks the town to approve the use of $75,000 in free cash and $60,000 in ARPA funds to repair the masonry at the Ware Senior Center. Article 24 would use $20,000 in ARPA funds to design restroom facilities at Grenville Park. Meanwhile, under Article 25, the electrical system at the Town Hall would be brought up to code with $120,000 of free cash and $80,000 of ARPA money.

The balances in the town’s free cash and Water Enterprise Reserve accounts are $1.33 million and $1.32 million, respectively. If voters approve all articles on the warrant, it will bring the balance of the free cash account to about $1.07 million and the Water Enterprise Reserve balance to roughly $645,000. A total of $160,000 of the town’s remaining $175,000 in ARPA funds would also be used.

The Town Meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Ware High School auditorium, 237 West St.

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