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A long-in-the-making deal between Volusia County and the City of Lake Helen will transfer ownership of Cassadaga’s water system to Lake Helen.

The interlocal agreement was approved by the Lake Helen City Commission April 11. Lake Helen will pay a fee of $10.

Fifteen years ago, the county ditched an aging well and package plant that supplied water to Cassadaga, and began buying water from Lake Helen to supply residents of the unincorporated Spiritualist camp. Cassadaga was established in 1894, and currently has a population of about 66.

With Lake Helen’s takeover, Cassadaga residents will have new water rates and a new billing period: They’ll pay quarterly instead of monthly.

Although the city and county water rates are comparable, the switch-over will likely increase the total cost to residents by roughly $20 a quarter, because of a capital-improvement fee Lake Helen collects on its water bills to help pay for water-system improvements.

Although the agreement stipulates that Lake Helen will not require its new water customers to annex into the city, extending the city’s water service will make it possible for residents in unincorporated areas south of the historic Spiritualist camp to annex into Lake Helen.

Most of those people live along Cassadaga Road, which runs through the community to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beltway.

In light of the possibility that those folks will want to annex, Lake Helen is waiving its annexation fee until Sept. 30, the same month Cassadagans will be billed under the new rates. Residents can expect their first Lake Helen water bill in October.

The Volusia County Council approved the agreement April 16, on the recommendation of county Director of Water Resources and Utilities Michael Ulrich.

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