The Otsego County Industrial Development Agency approved a $100,000 loan Thursday for the town of Oneonta’s project that would extend public water service to Southside. The action is expected to significantly enhance the town’s chances of landing millions of dollars in state and federal support.
The goal is to lure new business to a region of the county that is already its nucleus for retail shops and big box stores.
The loan was granted at a rate of 4 percent. It would be repayable in three years, officials said.
However, the project cannot advance unless owners of Southside properties, both residential and businesses, agree to support the creation of two new water districts at a special referendum vote that has not yet been scheduled, Oneonta Town Supervisor Robert Wood said.
Wood said it is likely the question of forming two new water districts would be put to Southside property owners in the fall of 2014.
Securing the loan commitment is a key part of Wood’s strategy to convince the state Environmental Facilities Corp. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to back the $8.8 million project.
The application for funding that will be sent to those two agencies will be looked on more favorably now that the IDA has joined forces with the town in attempting to move the water project forward, Wood said.
Wood had previously angled unsuccessfully to get the Otsego County Board of Representatives to commit financial support to the Southside project. Citing the county’s fiscal constraints, county lawmakers opted against offering any money for the water extension.
As for the new support from the IDA, Wood said: “We’ve been working toward this goal for a couple of years, and so we’re absolutely excited to get through this.”
Wood said he is optimistic that those eligible to vote in the referendum would be supportive of creating the water districts, because it would provide their property with new public water lines and ultimately increase the value and the marketability of the lots in question.