As Fredonia gets back on track after a 20 day boil water advisory the Fredonia Board of Trustees discussed the Vineyard Drive interconnect at length on Monday.
“We should have a contract that is either with Dunkirk or the North County Water District or both that spells out ‘in the event we open these connections’ and ‘we are selling and/or buying water’ — who are we selling and buying to?” Trustee Roger Pacos asked. “(Is it) Dunkirk, because they’re the supplier or is it to the North County Water District? In either case what is the cost going to be? I also believe that it needs to be spelled out that in the event those connections are going to be opened that Fredonia, Dunkirk and the North County Water District should all be made aware of it before it happens.”
Attorney Dan Gard weighed in shortly after saying that in his opinion an agreement directly between the village and the city of Dunkirk would be best.
“If we buy water we would buy it directly from them. If the North County Water District buys water they would buy it from them,” Gard said. “I would like a one-party agreement between us and the city of Dunkirk, but again I urge the interconnection at this time because even the interconnection agreement says it’s by Fredonia’s agreement to turn it on.”
Gard cited that any agreement the two parties may come to is fine as the interconnection itself doesn’t get turned on without the village’s approval.
“The agreement that we have specifically says Vineyard Drive and doesn’t explicitly say any other connection that we may make,” Trustee James Lynden added. “Without a contract in place and giving the mayor authority to sign, there’s a number of items that need to be addressed again. If these are actually connected to the town of Pomfret’s lines, these are multiple parties that we have involved. It would be prudent to have an agreement in place prior to the approval of this.”
Lynden further shared that a contract before approving the interconnect was overwhelmingly important. He stated that in an email regarding the North County Water District that the district requested from one of their meetings that there should be a detailed agreement provided by the village of Fredonia.
Gard shared that he gave everything he and the city of Dunkirk had in regards to the water agreements.
“I think this is something that can go forward and we can work out the details of the actual turning on and turning off later,” Gard added. “It’s not just a couple of quick contracts. We’re talking about multiple municipalities, we’re talking about existing agreements, we’re talking about the North County Water District. This does seem to be a stumbling block for us. I encourage that we go ahead with the interconnections and we can work out the details of the actual prices and water flows later.”
Trustees Evadawn Bashaw and Kara Christina agreed.
“The use of them is only going to happen if we turn them on. We have time to do those contracts, but we’re holding up the grants,” Bashaw said. “I think we should move forward with just doing the connection itself.”
“The recent crisis has shown that we have to do this,” Christina noted. “I think there are problems that need to be ironed out. I think there are things that we need to have guarantees, but we have to have these.”
Mayor Doug Essek chimed in agreement that the contracts can be sorted later and that the placement of a redundant water supply is most critical at the moment.
The board agreed to install the interconnection in a 4-1 vote with the single ‘nay’ vote belonging to Lynden.
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