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Dunkirk, Fredonia leaders continue talks about regional water district

DUNKIRK – Leaders from Dunkirk and Fredonia met Tuesday to continue talks about a regional water district in northern Chautauqua County.

County Executive Vincent W. Horrigan met with elected officials and financial leaders to talk about proposed rates and other issues concerning the water supply for the area.

Horrigan explained that phase one in the district, according to the engineering designs, would include lines to Brocton, connections toward Silver Creek and Hanover, and an interconnecting line between Fredonia and Dunkirk.

The design plan calls for Dunkirk as the primary source of treated water and Fredonia as a secondary one. A total of $2 million in grant money has been provided for the project, which has been encouraged by Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corp.

Dunkirk Councilwoman Stacy Szukala asked whether Fredonia plans to use Dunkirk as a source supply or only as an emergency backup.

Fredonia officials said they plan to use their reservoir as a primary source for as long as possible.

Dunkirk Public Works Director Anthony G. Gugino said the city would like to be able to supply Fredonia when possible.

“The city is going to benefit if we can sell them supplemental water,” Gugino said.

Gugino said he would use Fredonia as a backup if needed. Currently there is only a 6-inch-diameter line connecting the two communities.

The Dunkirk water-treatment plant has been upgraded over the last few years and is able to produce more than 6.5 million gallons per day.

The new regional plan would have Dunkirk and Fredonia adding customers from throughout the northern region of the county. Fredonia Village Clerk Richard St. George said that the water rate proposed for customers in the new regional district is less than the village charges now.

Horrigan said he will supply information about the proposed rates. “I propose a meeting with all the financial folks so that we can see how the rate works,” he said.

The next steps in forming the water district will include intermunicipal agreements between the county and communities that want to participate in the district.

The county will be the lead agency for financing the project. The initial phase is scheduled to cost about $13 million. The county has contracted with attorney Gregory R. Yaw, of Fredonia, to draw up the agreements.

Once municipal agreements are in place, the County Legislature will need to approve bonding for the North County Water Agency.