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Local News

August 16, 2013

IDA OKs loan for water proposal


Wood said he expects the support from the IDA loan will negate the need for the town to partner with the city of Oneonta, which has been poised to sell water to the town as well as provide the town with a $90,000 loan.

“At this time it does not appear we would partner with the city, primarily because of the increased cost of obtaining water for them,” Wood said. He added that it would be cheaper for the town to tap into an aquifer under Fortin Park, and run the water line to the Southside from there. He said the town owns sufficient land around the site to create a required 200-foot buffer zone.

Engineering studies completed by the town suggest that connecting to a new water line would initially cost property owners $1,000 each for the hookup. The annual fee for the supply was estimated at $560.

County Rep. Betty Anne Schwerd, R-Burlington, the chairwoman of the county’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and a member of the IDA, said the loan money will only be released to the town “if they get through all the hoops” — including having a referendum where the Southside water project is supported by those who would use it.

The vote in support of the loan was unanimous, she noted. She pointed out that Wood advised the IDA that the water project could attract as many as five new businesses to Southside in a relatively short time.

Schwerd said it remains to be seen whether Southside voters will agree to back the project.

A 2010 survey of property owners along the main Southside corridor of state Route 23 and state Route 28 showed that about 75 percent of respondents favored creating a water district.

Wood said there is plenty of room on the Southside for new businesses, noting only about 40 percent of the land there has been developed. He said a similar public water extension plan in Cobleskill has stimulated commercial real estate activity in that area, with developers looking to acquire properties where they think businesses will choose to locate.

(This story has been modified to correct the name of Betty Anne Schwerd, which was incorrect in the original version of the story.)



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