Bridge Funding, Intermunicipal Agreement For Water District Approved

MAYVILLE — Initial construction is nearing for the North Chautauqua County Regional Water System.

On Monday, the County Legislature’s Public Facilities Committee approved to authorize bridge funding through the end of the year to allow project construction to commence this summer.

In July, the legislature approved the regional water district’s formation and seed money. The legislature also authorized last year $11.75 million in bonding for the cost of initial capital improvements.

County Attorney Steve Abdella said the county is borrowing on the district’s behalf for improvements. Permanent bonding and the issuance of bond anticipation notes hasn’t been finalized yet, which prompted legislators to approve interim funding to move the project forward.

“(The district’s) in the stage even before doing bond anticipation notes for a few months,” he said. “The district that’s starting out needs some cash flow to pay bills. Those bills will eventually be paid by later borrowing that takes place.”

Abdella told committee members the district hasn’t tapped bridge funding and would like to this summer. Committee members voted to amend a resolution adopted last July, which authorizes the county executive to advance up to $1 million to the district as needed through the end of the year. Money sent by the county to the district would be repaid at an interest rate determined by the director of finance.

“Down the road, depending on what happens and when they do projects, they may have sufficient funds on hand to cover the short-term needs,” Abdella said. “But when they’re starting out, they don’t have anything. They need seed money.”

The water project’s first phase details the placement of main waterline along Route 5 between the city of Dunkirk and village of Brocton. Pipes would also be placed in the towns of Sheridan and Portland.

Committee members also approved an intermunicipal agreement between the water district and Brocton. The agreement relates to water infrastructure improvements within the village and the district’s securing of a grant and an interest-free loan for the project.

Brocton will be one of six municipal purchasers of water from the district. The village is on its way to receiving a $2 million grant and a $5,575,500 interest-free loan from the state Environmental Facilities Corporation to pay for a portion of the proposed capital improvements for the district.

In order to receive the grant and loan, Abdella said the village is required to own the infrastructure during the period of the debt service.

“That causes us then to have to enter into an intermunicipal agreement between the district and village relating to those improvements, by which the district will operate, maintain and utilize the infrastructure and pay back the debt service,” he said.

Chairman John Hemmer, R-Westfield, asked if the $2 million grant was part of or in addition to the $11 million project. Abdella said it’s not an addition to the project. With the grant, Abdella said the full $11 million may not be borrowed or aspects of the project’s second phase may be able to proceed sooner.