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October 26, 2012

Board nixes Southside water plan


Stuligross, D-city of Oneonta, supported the request.

Schwerd, questioning whether the county would see any benefits from a big expansion at Southside, suggested that Murphy was simply out to feather the nest of his own town.

“You have an interest in this, Rich,” Schwerd said. “You represent the town of Oneonta.”

She also expressed dismay that the request for funding was coming at a time when county board members are attempting to trim various county programs in order to fill a sizeable budget gap and produce a balanced spending plan for 2013.

“I find it amazing that we’re drooling about giving the town of Oneonta $100,000,” Schwerd said.

Murphy responded that “preliminary numbers” indicate that the county would derive “a lot of revenue” from heightened sales tax collections as well as a potential stream of new bed tax revenue.

The Courtyard by Marriott on Route 23 is expected to open in the coming year, and other hotels could come to the area, Wood and Gravelin indicated.

“We’re being approached on a regular basis by people who want to see the development continue over there,” Wood said. He said it was unusual to have so much development so far in an area that lacks a public water supply, and warned the state Department of Health is expected to frown on any new application for well permits in the area.

“This is an opportunity to invest in your future,” Wood said.

Gravelin agreed, saying a developer involved in the Lowe’s store is interested in locating numerous new retail outlets in the area.

“People are interested, but they are just sort of being held back” by the lack of a public water supply, he said.

Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, who attended the meeting though he is not a member of the Administration Committee, also spoke in favor of acceding to the funding request. He argued that the retail sector in the Southside area holds promise to bring far more jobs to the region rather than “a factory that makes widgets that you’re never going to see.”

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