DUNKIRK – Dunkirk Common Council members met with members of the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Association and Chautauqua County Executive Gregory Edwards Thursday to discuss supporting a resolution to form a regional water district board.
Edwards said a resolution by the County Legislature also would be required for the board to become a reality.
He said the board initially would back about $1.2 million in bonding to support preliminary engineering studies and plans to form the North Chautauqua County Water District.
None of the Dunkirk Council members expressed support for the concept. Steve Neratko, the city’s planning director, was opposed to forming the board until city leaders review all available options on a regional water distribution system.
Councilwoman Stacey Szukala said she thought Dunkirk deserves a bigger say than being one of 11 members proposed in the resolution.
Patrick Brennan of the Brennan Group, consultants on the water project, said it is “vital to create an agency so that it could make decisions.” He urged Council members to meet soon to discuss the concept.
The communities have applied for funding through a state Consolidated Funding Application and may receive word on eligibility for funds in December, Brennan said. He said that the project was ranked second behind a project at the University at Buffalo. The amount of funding that is designated for Western New York has not been determined.
Edwards, who will leave office on Nov. 15, said he believes the project should move forward. Following the special session, Chadwick Bay members discussed participation fees for communities. In the past, communities have been assessed an annual fee based on population.
Fredonia and the town of Hanover are both in arrears in payments to the group. On Thursday, the association decided to propose an equal charge of $1,600 to each community.
Members were asked to bring the assessment proposal back to their boards for consideration and report back to the Chadwick group.