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Acreage property owners: County water or well water?

THE ACREAGE — Homes on a stretch of Hamlin Boulevard will be able to tap into public water early next year, and more areas in The Acreage can do the same under a policy Indian Trail Improvement District established recently.

A majority of Hamlin Boulevard property owners, between 140th Avenue North and Avocado Boulevard, have voted in favor of paying $9,924 each for a public water pipe to extend to their road. They will have to pay additional fees to connect to the water line, which isn't mandatory.

"Our water is horrible," said Hamlin Boulevard resident Vickie Smith. "I'm on my third washing machine ... our second pool pump and our second water softener system. My tubs are ruined."

Not everyone on the section of road wants public water though: three of the 11 properties voted against it and two didn't respond, while six were in favor of it, said Palm Beach County Water Utilities Spokesman Robert Nelton.

Resident Dave Chadwick was against the proposal.

"It's not that I don't want it," Chadwick said. "I don't want to pay that kind of money for it."

Palm Beach County commissioners in late June approved a special assessment for the work, which should be complete and ready for residents to hook up to in February.

All 11 residents must pay $9,924, but can do so over the course of 20 years by paying 5.5 percent interest.

Under a policy Indian Trail created this year, if more than 50 percent of property owners in an area between one-quarter and one-half a mile support getting public water, the request is recommended for approval by the district's board of supervisors. Palm Beach County Water Utilities then oversees the construction and costs.

AKA Services is handling the $109,682 Hamlin project. The company's registered agent is Josephine Basile, according to the state's Division of Corporations.

Three of the six property owners in favor of public water are members of the Basile family, according to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser.

AKA Services in September won an 18-month contract, with an option to renew, to perform work for Palm Beach County Water Utilities on an "as-needed" basis, Nelton said.

The company has already worked on several projects ahead of the Hamlin one, Nelton said.

Only 144 properties are connected to the county's water utility in Indian Trail Improvement District, which governs several aspects of the roughly 40,000-resident Acreage.

"I'll choose county water over well water any day," said Hamlin Boulevard property owner Brenda Cullen, who voted for the pipe extension. "I think it's going to make the property values go up."