As you may be aware, your Board has been discussing the option of public water for our community for almost a year. In the last few months, we have had some problems arise with our water system, specifically well pump failure, lightning hitting the well pump controller, and a clogged egress drain from the pump house. Consequently MDE and the County have become involved. Also, we have contacted John Salm, a local engineer familiar with water supply systems. All have recommended that we pursue the process of connecting to the public water system. This process takes several years and includes a construction and implementation charge plus an annual charge for the water once the system is operating.
Since we would be connecting to the Ocean Pines system, we would have to run pipes from Beauchamp Road to the vicinity of our swimming pool. This distance increases the construction/implementation cost, but the system does include eight fire hydrants, which will improve our fire protection and may decrease our insurance rates.
Currently as a home owner you pay approx. $483 for water in your annual HOA dues. This money is intended to cover daily usage and a reserve fund to assist with any major failures, e.g., the $6000 cost of the new pump last spring. While this amount appears significantly less than the cost of a public system, please remember our water system is over 30 years old and of the age where regular repairs can be expected. We will most likely need to increase our maintenance budget. The age of our water system is the main reason the County, MDE, and the engineer recommend that we investigate public water.
The implementation and construction for public water will cost each lot owner a one-time fee of around $10,693. Based on an average usage of 200 gallons per day, annual charges for water once the system is operating, would be $250 per lot. The implementation/construction cost can likely be financed with a low interest (1.75 to 3%) government loan paid over 20 to 40 years. For instance, if one uses an average amount of water, with a 20-year loan at 1.75%, one would pay approximately $880 per year. Roughly $380 more than one pays now…. $31 a month more for quality water that will always be available.
To move forward on public water the County requires a petition signed by 67% of the property owners (39 out of 58). This petition is not binding nor does it obligate any owner to any cost at this time. Its sole purpose is to express to the County our interest in public water.
The Board of Directors have scheduled John Salm and County officials, John Ross and Bob Mitchell, to attend our Board meeting on August 12th. They will give an informal presentation and answer your questions and concerns. It is imperative that we know your thoughts on this issue.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, please send your questions and/or concerns to: firstname.lastname@example.org or put them on our website.
Hope to see you at our Board meeting at 10 am on August 12th at Montgomery Financial Services, 11022 Nicholas Lane, Ocean Pines, MD 21811(next to the bike shop, across from Taylor’s).
St. Martin's by the Bay Homeowners' Association