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GENESEE COUNTY, BATAVIA TO SHARE WATER SYSTEM

The Genesee County Legislature Wednesday again bowed to concessions sought by some Batavia City Council members and approved two revised agreements that will link the city and county in a $54 million countywide water-distribution system that is already under way.

The lone dissenter, John L. Sackett Jr., R-Elba, criticized a change in the agreement that he said would let the city use $5 million in capital costs for operating expenses of the city's aging water system.

The City Council earlier this month voted 5-4 to approve revisions to the original pact, adopted in January 2000.

However, the Council plans to revote on these revisions Feb. 22 to blunt any legal challenges to the vote. Council member Christine M. Fix became ill during the session and cast the tie-breaking vote by telephone from her hospital bed.

The original pact had the county paying $5 million to the city for capital improvements in a more than 80-year-old filtration plant. That was replaced with a $2.5 million commitment to upgrade the city's distribution system. The county also pledged to pay $250,000 a year to the city for 10 years for further improvements.

In two related matters, the legislators authorized a $45,000 purchase of an acre of land in the Town of Pembroke for a pump station and possibly a water-supply tower.

The county has a contract with the Monroe County Water Authority to finance and oversee the 40-year plan. Construction is already under way in the Town of Le Roy, where a pump station is being built and water lines are being installed along Rt. 19.

The county's new Water Resources Agency is supervising the project and along with two legislative committees recommended that the Legislature accept the city's new demands.

The lawmakers Wednesday reappointed John C. Dwyer, director of the county's Industrial Development Agency, and Martin N. Culik, director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, to three-year terms on the agency board. They also named Pembroke Supervisor William C. Cappus to the nine-member board.

In other action, the Legislature:

Renewed a one-year, $10,000 contract with Mercy Flight Inc;

Established local laws granting real property tax exemptions to persons with limited incomes or disabilities, and granted real property tax relief to "Gold Star parents;" and

Urged the state Legislature to assume added costs -- estimated at twice the current expense -- for an increase in the expense generated by state law raising the age of persons in need of supervision (PINS) to include 16- and 17-year-olds.

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