Dunkirk mayor urges alternative to regional water district proposal - The Buffalo News
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Dunkirk mayor urges alternative to regional water district proposal

DUNKIRK – The City of Dunkirk will present an alternative to the regional water district proposed for the northern Chautauqua County area.

Mayor A.J. Dolce issued a letter this week that suggests there is a less costly alternative to forming a new regional water authority and distributing municipal water supply. Dolce is expected to present his plan at the water agency’s meeting set for Thursday in Silver Creek.

“No new governmental entity need be created, staffed and paid for to accomplish this North County distribution system,” said Dolce’s letter. “Inter-municipal agreements between and among the producers and users would sufficiently address the details.”

Dolce called the new agency, “another layer of government.”

He said the distribution could be accomplished without creating another entity.

“Nothing comes without a price. The costs for the expansions could be recovered by up-charges to the new service area customers. The per unit costs would be a factor of the significant volume to be generated and the 20-30 operational lifespan of the required infrastructure. Given the current rate structure of the city and the outlying municipalities, it is possible that such a proposal would result in lower rates for other jurisdictions even with the infrastructure recovery,” Dolce states in his letter.

The city has more representation on the regional agency board than other municipalities. In addition to the mayor, they appointed Councilwoman-at-large Stephanie Kiyak as a member and County Legislator Keith Ahlstrom, D-Dunkirk, is also a member.

Thursday will be the first business meeting of the water agency group. They were formed by a resolution of the county legislature and voted to have Don Steger, supervisor of the town of Pomfret as their chairman. The organizational meeting was held in Dunkirk in February.

The north county water agency was formed after years of study by the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation which is headed by Kathy Tampio. She said that she believes that the members of the agency should get to hear the proposal by Dolce to help them make an informed decision about how they should proceed. Several communities in the northern Chautauqua County area have been participating in discussions about the water distribution plan. Some areas have their own municipal systems and in other rural areas water is supplied through wells and private systems.

“Each municipality would purchase water from the district, and would be responsible for the distribution, maintenance, billing and collection of the water within its own municipal boundaries, adding its own internal costs through an up-charge to the rate that the District would charge each municipality. So, while the district would sell water to each individual municipality at one rate, each particular municipality would have to add its costs on to that district fee. This would undoubtedly result in different rates for each municipality, based on the costs incurred within each municipality,” Dolce’s letter states.

He said that the rates have not been determined for the district and also indicates that the recent announcement of the closing of the large food processing plants in Fredonia and Dunkirk will have an impact on the cost of water for the remaining users.

The Chadwick Bay group is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by the water district meeting at 7 in the cafeteria at Silver Creek High School.

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