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Town, village of Potsdam draw closer to recreation agreement

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POTSDAM — With final negotiations drawing to a close, the town soon will be able to realize its plan to create a special taxing district for recreation.

The town hopes to take over the costs of recreation, which at present are evenly split with the village of Potsdam, by early next year.

Work toward the creation of a special district began in March, after the village voted to drop support for the program and leave the town in sole control of recreation.

This prompted weeks of negotiations, as town officials struggled with the legal questions of how to properly perform the takeover, and lawmakers from both municipalities argued about the best way to proceed.

The latest dispute regarded the cost of water and sewer service at Pine Street Arena.

The town wanted to pay a flat rate for water at the arena, rather than paying by usage at the village rate of $6.80 per 1,000 gallons of water and $6.49 per 1,000 gallons of sewage.

The town originally had requested free water and sewer services for the arena from the village, but began negotiating for a reduced rate when this was declined.

Village leaders were reluctant to offer the town a flat rate, but town of Potsdam Supervisor Marie C. Regan said that after weeks of discussion with village Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis, a compromise is close.

Under the tentative agreement, the town will pay $1,000 yearly for water at the arena. This rate would go up in proportion with any increases in the village water rate.

The compromise has yet to be approved by the village Board of Trustees.

“Mr. Yurgartis has said that he thinks that would be acceptable to his board,” Ms. Regan said.

The village also will provide an inventory of the recreation equipment it owns; it will all be turned over to the town when the takeover is complete.

Once all of this has been finished, the town and village will sign a memorandum of understanding to set the takeover in motion.

“It looks like it is going to work,” Ms. Regan said.

Town residents will have the chance to petition for a vote before the special taxing district takes effect. If a petition gathers 140 signatures, a referendum will be scheduled, possibly in early 2014.

The district will affect everyone in the town, including the village of Potsdam, but excluding the village of Norwood.

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