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Potsdam Town Board hoping for water/sewage payment to change to municipal rate

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POTSDAM - Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan has engaged in discussions with Village Administrator David H. Fenton about the possibility of the water and sewage payment for Potsdam’s Pine Street Arena being changed to a municipal rate when the town takes over the municipality’s recreation department.

Ms. Regan and Mr. Fenton met on Tuesday to discuss the matter, but it seems for now, at least, that the cost will stay at its current residential rate.

Ms. Regan initially brought up the possibility of the water and sewage payment being provided at no cost to the recreation district, an idea that was suggested to her, but Mr. Fenton told her that it was not possible.

During the town board meeting this week, Ms. Regan explained to her board how the conversation transpired.

“They have the water and sewer at a residential rate for the arena. I can’t dispute that that’s the right category. (Mr. Fenton) said (to me), ‘Well that’s what we’ve been doing.’ Well, I want a municipal rate,” Ms. Regan said. “I said, ‘We’re both going to be paying it. It’s going to be in the budget. We’re both going to be paying it. Let’s have a municipal rate for the water and sewer if you won’t provide it for nothing.’ He said he thought that would fly.”

When the idea of the “no cost” proposal began to fizzle, Potsdam Town Attorney Frank Cappello reignited the conversation by suggesting that Ms. Regan not back down from Mr. Fenton. He asked if she had presented the idea to the village board. She said she had not.

“I don’t think I’d take it on until they turn you down,” Mr. Cappello said.

“But he said he didn’t think it could be legally done,” Ms. Regan answered.

“They’re legally illegally doing it now. They’re treating water, sending it all over the place now. It doesn’t go any place and they’re not charging for it,” Mr. Cappello said.

The board discussed the differences between the three rates (commercial, municipal, and residential) but did not have information on how much each one costs. They did say that residential costs more than municipal.

Ms. Regan explained that payment for the district was most likely at a residential rate as well.

“Here (town hall) it’s just for drinking water and the bathroom. What I’m saying is we don’t use enough so we probably are at the residential rate. At the arena you need it to freeze the ice,” Ms. Regan said.

Ms. Regan attempted to bring the discussion to an end by making a suggestion to her board.

“Could we adopt this as an amendment saying, ‘At no cost to the rec district.’ If this is impossible could we have a municipal rate for usage which would be mutually decided,” she said.

“They want you (the town board) to take over recreation. Put the burden on them to make a decision. The worst thing they say is no,” Mr. Cappello said. “The trouble is water governs sewer. You’re going to use a lot of water but not much sewage but you’re going to pay a ton of money for sewage. If you think about it, there’s no such thing as a sewage meter but there’s a water meter.”

Mr. Fenton and Potsdam Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis were unavailable for comment regarding the issue.

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