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Chadwick Bay development agency gets grant to help with planning for Chautauqua water district

SHERIDAN – Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp. has obtained a grant to help with the early planning stages of a Northern Chautauqua Water District.

Most of the members of the regional development corporation also are members of the planned water district.

The development agency has been holding meetings throughout the north county area, and it met this month at Sheridan Memorial Post 6390, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Chautauqua County Executive Vincent W. Horrigan provided a draft contract to be reviewed by municipalities that would be involved in the public water-distribution system.

“All we are trying to do is get more customers on robust systems and supply water,” Horrigan said.

He praised the cooperation of the City of Dunkirk and its mayor, A.J. Dolce, who also attended the meeting.

“I am very supportive of this agreement and optimistic that it will be approved,” Dolce said.

Dolce said the matter will need to be authorized by the City Council.

“Since the last water agency meeting, we have been hard at work on the intermunicipal agreement,” Horrigan said.

Horrigan said that most of the background for the agreement has come from meetings with the City of Dunkirk, which would be the major supplier of water for the expanded district. Dunkirk has the capacity to provide 6 million gallons of treated water each day and the possibility of processing an additional 2 million gallons each day with some changes to the treatment plant.

The agreement would remove Fredonia from the community-based group, for now, but allow it to return to the process when it is ready to participate. Fredonia officials had asked that their water reservoirs be considered as the backup source to Dunkirk, whose treatment plant takes water from Lake Erie.

“If Fredonia comes onboard as a customer, it lowers the cost considerably,” Horrigan said.

Village officials were seeking for Fredonia to be a dual supplier for the proposed district.

The base rate listed in the agreement is $3.57 per 1,000 gallons. Horrigan said that changes may be made if the City of Dunkirk has to increase its costs for treating more water as the area of the regional water district is extended.

Dolce said that the city customers would use about 75 percent of the water processed and that the remaining 25 percent would go to users of the new regional district. The Village of Brocton is one of the first customers that hopes to be on-line with the regional district.

Brocton Mayor David Hazelton questioned the clause in the contract that refers to possible increased costs for treating water because of new customers.

Horrigan said the annual rates could be adjusted if water-purification costs are increased because of core cost elements.

“The whole concept of this is to make sure we are not shifting costs or adding things that members of the district don’t think are fair,” Horrigan said. The initial proposal for construction of water lines, pumps and storage is about $13.5 million.

In addition to the City of Dunkirk, the communities in the district include Brocton, Pomfret, Portland, Sheridan and the Town of Dunkirk.