Town board advances Southside water project

Shweta Karikehalli | The Daily Star  Council Members Randal Mowers and Patricia Jacob, Clerk Sara Robinson, Supervisor Robert Wood and Council Members Patricia Riddell Kent and Brett Holleran discuss agenda items Wednesday at the Town of Oneonta’s first board meeting of 2020 at the Oneonta Town Hall. 

ONEONTA — The town of Oneonta authorized a purchase related to the Southside Water District project and approved a zone change in the East End at its first board meeting of 2020 at the Oneonta Town Hall.

Town Supervisor Robert Wood approved the $27,000 purchase of the tank site for the water district project, which he said would be off of Southside Drive.

“It’s another step in the right direction,” Wood said.

The Southside water project was first proposed in 2010 after the state Department of Health advised the Town Board of its “concern over the growing number of small, privately-owned public water systems that exist in this relatively concentrated area,” according to a report by Lamont Engineers on the Town of Oneonta’s website.

Since 2000, there have been 79 coliform sampling violations, 18 chemical sampling violations, and 84 operational violations for the 27 public water systems in the Southside area, according to the report. Of the 27, all but two have had violations since 2000.

The state report suggested the town consider a municipal water system to serve the Southside area. The project’s estimated annual cost per typical household, according to the report, is $450 to $500.

Wood said the town was approached by the owners of the Archer plaza in the East End requesting a zone change from business to industrial/commercial uses in a planned development district.

“They’ve had conversations with other businesses who are interested in coming into the space and using it,” Wood said. “The planned development district would allow for a slightly different character of business in the future, and we hope that that’s something they can attract — new businesses to the area — by doing this zone change.”

In other town business:

• The town announced bids for the production wells for the Southside Water District project will publicly open Thursday, Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. at the town hall.

• A $10,000 contract with Destination Oneonta was renewed. Council Member Patricia Riddell Kent said she only noticed one town event on Destination Oneonta’s website. She asked the board to be more proactive in letting the organization know about upcoming town events. 

• Discussed upcoming plans for Southside sidewalks. Construction is slated for late 2020 or early 2021. The state Department of Transportation has dedicated $3 million to the project, said Council Member Patricia Jacob. 

“Its a project ongoing but I feel like we’re making some progress here for the first time in a long time,” Jacob said.  

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221.

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