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Local News

July 9, 2014

Oneonta Town Board to review proposed Southside Water District

The town of Oneonta has received confirmation of some funding for its proposed Southside Water District, the supervisor said Tuesday.

And the town is gearing up to collect signatures on petitions needed to approve the project, Supervisor Robert Wood said. He will give an update on the proposal at the Oneonta Town Board meeting in Town Hall at 7:30 tonight.

The proposed $8.8-million project would provide water service to residences and commercial properties on Southside Oneonta. Wood said the Environmental Facilities Corp. confirmed in late June that the town will receive a $2 million grant and a $4 million interest-free loan for 30 years.

The basic funding package is set for the proposed district, Wood said, though the town awaits word from additional potential revenue. Awards will be available for about two years, he said.

To gain project approval in the petitioning process, signatures must represent 51 percent of assessed property values of entities impacted, Wood said. A guaranteed-safe water system and sure supply provided by a water district will outweigh the costs of the district, he said.

Soon town officials will go door-to-door in the proposed district to ask residential and commercial property owners for notarized signatures supporting the project. The signature campaign may take several months, Wood said, and if the project is approved, the next phases would be design and bidding, with a possible start of construction in spring 2016.

Wood said he has heard both support and opposition to the project. If support isn't sufficient, the district won't be created, he said.

The town decided to seek project support through petitions instead of a referendum, during which a project can be voted up or down without comments or feedback.

The petition process involves the public more than a referendum, Wood said, and town officials will be able to gauge support as signatures are sought. If the project failed in referendum, another vote would have to be scheduled and might have similar negative results.

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