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ACTION ON JOINING WATER SYSTEM TABLED

An agreement with Genesee County to join a countywide water-distribution system, diluted by the city with last-minute changes, was tabled Thursday after a nearly two-hour discussion by the City Council at a special meeting.

The vote to table was 7 to 2 with ward council members Franklin J. Battaglia and Rose Mary Christian objecting.

A companion agreement to ensure the city was gaining more sales-tax revenue also was tabled unanimously.

City Council President George A. Spinnegan, a vocal proponent of both measures, set Sept. 30, as the date for a special meeting to consider the two resolutions. Most of Thursday's session was spent on a page-by-page review of a redraft that keeps control of city water in city hands. The quality of Monroe County Water Authority's water and a loss of local control were the chief objections to the original plan that would have the county linked with Monroe and Erie counties to supply water to rural areas in an effort to spur economic growth.

The Genesee County Legislature already has approved the new sales-tax formula but contingent on the city joining the water district.

The revision, according to Spinnegan, would keep control of city water in Genesee County with the municipality serving its residents as well as parts of the town of Batavia and Village of Oakfield.

The sales-tax proposal would peg the city's share of the 4 percent county tax at 16 percent. The city would share in all county sales-tax revenue. Currently, it gets only the levy generated within the city limits.

Estimates range from $50 million to $70 million in the amount of added revenue the city would gain over the 40 years of the agreement. Several million would come from county payments to operate the city's filtration plant, well fields and distribution lines.

The Legislature will meet next Wednesday.

How the city's latest delay in reaching a pact will affect the issue is not known.

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