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Peterborough proposes bond for Cold Stone Springs purchase

  • The town of Peterborough will hold a public hearing on two proposed bonds on March 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Peterborough Town Hall. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 8:1PM

A multi-million dollar bond article to purchase and prepare a Jaffrey and Sharon property as an additional municipal water source is on the slate for discussion at a hearing March 5.

While official numbers aren’t yet prepared, Selectwoman Barbara Miller said in an interview Wednesday the water source bond will pay for the purchase of land, engineering and preparation to make the former Cold Stone Springs in Jaffrey a source of water for Peterborough.

Miller said the purchasing price of the property is still under negotiation, and though the town has a current estimate for the proposed bond, the numbers are still preliminary.

If the bond is approved by voters, Miller said, the payments on the loan would be paid back through the town’s water customers, and not general taxation.

The town is also seeking grants through the New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund and the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program to assist with paying for the project.

If Peterborough is approved for those grants, they will be used to reduce the amount of the bond request.

There are already three wells drilled on the Cold Stone Springs property, which have permits from the Department of Environmental Services for large-scale water drawing.

Each well is permitted to allow drawing up to 288,000 gallons per day.

However, the property as a whole is capped at producing up to 577,000.

Those permits mean the property can produce as much water as Peterborough’s current daily demand, which is about 400,000 gallons a day.

Peterborough currently has three working wells, which can meet those needs, but all three wells are located on the same aquifer, and the town is interested in locating a separate water source for backup.

Jaffrey Town Manager Jon Frederick said Wednesday that Peterborough and Jaffrey have been in conversation about accessing water from the property, either purchasing from the town or in a partnership.

“We’re discussing a partnership, but it is all still preliminary,” Frederick said. “We haven’t worked those details out yet. We’re discussing what this partnership would look like, and an agreement would need to be officially formed.”

Frederick said Jaffrey is not planning to request any funds in the budget or in a warrant article related to the Cold Stone Springs project this year.

Frederick said Jaffrey is interested in the water to support the town’s water sources during drought conditions, but is also expecting an increase in the town’s demand for water in the next few years, due to an expansion of MilliporeSigma.

MilliporeSigma is expecting to increase its water usage by up to 70,000 gallons per day.

Jaffrey’s current water usage is about 360,000 gallons per day to serve its 1,500 customers in Jaffrey and Rindge. 

Peterborough plans to hold a public hearing on the bond proposal on March 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Peterborough Town House.

At the same meeting, the town plans to review a bond for the proposed construction of a new highway department facility.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaar i@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.