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Potsdam town and village disagree on recreation water, sewer

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POTSDAM — The town and the village are poised to clash over the cost of water and sewer services to Pine Street Arena as the two municipalities continue to work on the town’s takeover of the recreation program.

The arena is within village limits, and water and sewer services are provided by the village. Costs for the recreation program are now split evenly between the village and the town, but the town is working to assume full control of the program, including Pine Street Arena, by early next year.

Water costs at the arena have proven a sticking point, as the amount needed to create an ice rink is considered cost-prohibitive by members of the Town Council.

The town initially requested free water and sewer services for the arena from the village. When this was declined, discussion began on the possibility of the arena receiving these services at a reduced rate.

“(Mayor Steven W.) Yugartis and I have spoken, and he’s going to go back to his board and see if they can provide some kind of flat rate,” said Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan.

The village does not have a municipal rate for water and sewer. Everyone pays the same: $6.80 per 1,000 gallons of water and $6.49 per 1,000 gallons of sewer.

Although Mrs. Regan said village leaders were receptive to the idea, Village Administrator David H. Fenton said a price cut for the town is unlikely.

The water use at the arena is fairly constant, according to Mr. Fenton, so it would not make sense to provide a flat rate for the town.

“Seeing how it is metered, and the usage is very consistent, there’s no need for a flat rate,” he said.

A discount, he added, is unlikely.

“It’s paid at the same rate that everybody pays,” Mr. Fenton said.

While the disagreement on water and sewer persists, Ms. Regan said the town’s takeover of the recreation program is progressing as quickly as possible.

The creation of a separate recreation taxing district, encompassing the entire town of Potsdam except for the village of Norwood, will likely be put up for a vote early next year.

“They’re proceeding slowly but surely,” Ms. Regan said.

In the meantime, the town continues to study the effect the switch would have on taxes. Village residents would likely end up paying less than they do now, while town residents outside the village would pay slightly more, but the exact numbers are still unknown.

Despite the debate over water and sewer rates, Mr. Fenton said he thinks plans will move forward undisturbed.

“We don’t really see it as a big sticking point,” he said.

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