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Village may buy county land to use for new water supply

LITTLE VALLEY – A parcel of foreclosed county land may be the solution to the Village of Cattaraugus’ water woes.

When testing showed the village’s main water supply – the Blackmer Well, which serves more than 1,000 residents – was contaminated, the village began looking for a new source. That source may have been found.

A section of land known as Kelly Summit Springs, along Route 353 in the Village of Cattaraugus, is owned by Cattaraugus County. It had been foreclosed on for failure to pay taxes.

After negotiations between members of the Village Board and Cattaraugus County Legislators Patrick J. Murphy and Richard L. Klancer, both Republicans, the proposed sale of the land will be presented to the County Legislature for a vote on Wednesday.

Under the proposed agreement, the land would go to the Village of Cattaraugus for the amount of back taxes owed, about $9,000.

The land is not perfect, Murphy said, and is going to require some work.

Some of the spring boxes date back to the 1890s and will need to be updated, and a service line into the village will have to be installed.

Some objected to the way the sale was brought to the Development and Agricultural Committee. William E. Sprague, D-Yorkshire, said the idea should have been brought to the committee in advance to allow for proper discussion.

He was also concerned about the precedent that would be established in selling the property to a municipality when the county might have better options.

“The issue was discussed at length and various other options were discussed,” said Legislator Paula Stockman, R-Stockton. “For those of us involved with municipalities, it is important to be receptive when we are the water suppliers. It is imperative that the municipality own its own water supply.”