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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 will soon be able to realize its plan to create a special taxing district for recreation.

The town hopes to take over the costs for recreation by early next year. These costs are currently shared evenly with the village.

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 at Pine Street Arena.

The town wanted to pay a flat rate for water at Pine Street 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 sewer.

It had originally 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 originally reluctant to offer the town a flat rate, but Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan said after weeks of discussion with Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis a compromise is close.

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

This compromise has yet to be approved by the village board.

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

The village will also provide an inventory of the recreation equipment it owns. This 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 town’s recreation district will exclude the village of Norwood.

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