Better rates, service with district

It has been a challenging road but I firmly believe a Northern Chautauqua County Water District is becoming a reality. The critical link to success is bridging the today with the tomorrow while maintaining a balance where everyone wins. Let me explain.

The term “regional approach” clearly has brought support when talking in general terms. However, the real deal gets done when we are able to put together a project where everyone sees a win and where there are no losers. On Feb. 24, we achieved this goal by spreading out over $2 million in highly competitive New York State Grant funding across seven municipalities to achieve a reliable supply of healthy water from two interconnected water treatment sources the city of Dunkirk and village of Fredonia.

Thanks to an independent analysis from a highly respected resource specialist from the State University of New York at Fredonia, we have designed a rate structure where everyone will achieve a better water rate than individually upgrading the three existing water treatment plants. The rate structure and plan has been unanimously adopted by mayors and supervisors from the affected municipalities via the Chautauqua County Water Agency.

This important regional infrastructure investment will be the first phase of the Northern Chautauqua County Water District which will begin as soon as the inter-municipal agreements are finalized over the next several weeks.

Maximizing the customer base and minimizing capital, operations and maintenance costs have been the key to a highly cost-effective infrastructure project. This project will provide a robust water supply system that will guard against drought conditions, major unplanned capital expenditures, and customer decline. It will also set the stage for economic, residential, and business development.

As we continue our strong economic development efforts to recruit new businesses, strengthen existing businesses, and grow our residential communities, the success of this regional project will clearly be a key reason why Chautauqua County is on the move!

Vince Horrigan is Chautauqua County executive.