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SHERIDAN – Members of the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. reported Thursday that the proposal for a regional water distribution system for northern Chautauqua County has been receiving positive support at regional and state levels.

Executive Director Kathy Tampio said that the project to bring regional water distribution to the area was reported to state officials at an economic development meeting earlier in the day. Tampio said Chautauqua County Executive Gregory Edwards pledged support for the project and considers it a top priority for the region.

The county applied for a $7 million grant to help fund the project.

Tampio said that a resolution will be put before the County Legislature to form a water agency, which would will include elected officials from all the communities involved in the regional project. The proposal is for an 11-member group to help decide on administration, rates and distribution for the regional water plan.

Tampio said the next step will be for the county to seek funding for environmental studies and that bonding will be required for that part of the project.

The regional water distribution plan has been a major topic for the Chadwick Bay group.

Other regional and area projects will be part of the next phase of Chadwick Bay discussions. Jay Warren said communities will be encouraged to start looking for individual or shared projects that involve Lake Erie’s shoreline and its tributaries.

The annual budget for the Chadwick Bay group was approved by the membership. The $12,000 budget has been funded by per-capita assessments to each community. The membership discussed other funding options such as dividing the assessment equally between communities or a combination of population and equal division.

The Town of Hanover is currently in arrears for its funding assessment for 2013. Members stressed that the issue of payments should be decided now as townships are working on their budgets for 2014.

It was announced at Thursday’s meeting at the Sheridan Veterans of Foreign Wars hall that Brigadier Gen. Margaret W. Burcham of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be visiting Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake harbors on Oct. 7.

The general’s visit was announced by Jacqueline F. Chairot, a member of the staff of Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning.

“We want as many people to attend the meetings and share their concerns with dredging the harbors,” she said.

The first stop will be in the Chautauqua Lake area, followed by stops at the Dunkirk Harbor and the Cattaraugus Creek Harbor in Sunset Bay.

Dunkirk Mayor A.J. Dolce said he will reach out to the many charter captains who run commercial fishing trips out of the city and ask them to share their concerns about the depths of the harbor.

“Furthermore, I applaud the regional efforts to include other communities in the planning for harbor maintenance and dredging,” he said.

“The Lake Erie waters are important to our whole region, and keeping the harbors open and safe for boaters is an issue we share with our neighboring coastal communities,” Dolce said.