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Watertown City Council delays action on urbanized area plan


The Watertown City Council will wait until next week to act on a proposed agreement that will set up the Metropolitan Planning Organization designation.

Council members said Monday night that they need more information about the federal plan that would make the city and surrounding area an urbanized region. Council members want to know more about how the city will be affected by the designation.

“I just think my colleagues have too many questions,” Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said before council members agreed to take up the plan at next Monday night’s meeting.

The city, Jefferson County and the state Department of Transportation have to put together the planning organization by March 26. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will then sign it.

Both the city and Jefferson County must have the agreement in place by then or federal funding for CitiBus, the Watertown International Airport, road construction and other projects would be held up until the agreement was in place, city officials said.

After gathering information during its last survey, the U.S. Census Bureau declared the greater Watertown area — which includes parts of Dexter, LeRay and Carthage and has a population of 57,840 — an urbanized region.

The designation might affect federal funding and economic development, especially with public transportation and roads, according to city officials.

On Monday night, Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith said he was concerned the city could lose direct control over CitiBus, the city-run public transportation system.

Under the program, the greater Watertown area will have its own planning organization, which will be responsible for coordinating state and federal funding of highway and bridge projects and public transportation.

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