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Alden residents living in the proposed Zoeller Road and Exchange Street water districts are a step closer to having non-well water after the board approved an agreement to begin designing the districts Monday night.

Metzger Civil Engineering, the firm run by Town Engineer Michael Metzger, won the project with a bid of $86,806. The bid was more than $50,000 less than the next bid, Metzger said during Monday night’s board meeting.

“I hope everyone sees our commitment to the town,” he said, “and the value of the services we provide. We’re very proud to provide this service to the town.”

Residents living in the Zoeller Road and Exchange Street water districts presented the town a petition over a year ago, Metzger said, asking to be a part of a water district. They currently use well water.

“The residents have had severe problems with the quantity and quality of water,” he said.

The Zoeller Road district extends from Walden Avenue to Genesee Street, while the Exchange Street district runs from the Marilla town line to the Village of Alden, Metzger said.

In hiring a firm to design the districts, the town put out a “request for qualifications,” Metzger said, and chose five firms to bid on the job.

“What I did was put together what I know is a fair price for the work,” he said. “I’ve been involved since it started, and I’m very familiar with it.”

The next closest bid was $139,000 for the work, with some bids going as high as $200,000, Metzger said.

The town has been working on getting non-well water to residents for the last 15 years, Metzger said. Three years ago, a referendum to make the entire town a water district failed by a narrow vote.

“It could be a need, but if people don’t want it, it won’t happen,” he said.

The town is very happy with the bid Metzger’s firm put in, said Town Clerk Ralph Witt.

“He’s a good man, and he’s doing a great thing for the town,” he said.

Metzger expects construction to begin by late spring or early summer.