News Column

Property owners force vote on sewer extension in Moreau

January 28, 2014

By Jamie Munks, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y.

Jan. 28 --MOREAU -- A group of property owners were successful in forcing a public vote on the proposed multimillion dollar sewer district extension in the town of Moreau that local officials hope will spur development, but the timeline required for the referendum creates a conflict with an application deadline for financing. "I don't have a particular problem with it," Moreau Town Supervisor Preston Jenkins said of the extension being subject to a permissive referendum. "But without significant economic development, in several years we could be looking at higher tax rates. I don't see significant development on Route 9 without sewers." The town is facing a Feb. 3 application deadline to secure low-interest financing through the New York Clean Water and State Revolving Fund and the state Environmental Facilities Corp. , which could be the key in moving the $14 million sewer district expansion project forward. By law, the public vote must be held between 60 and 75 days from the petition deadline, which would be in late March or early April. Jenkins said Monday he planned to pursue a deadline extension with the state Environmental Facilities Corp. , because of the referendum timeline, and that the Town Board would consider setting a date for the public vote at its Tuesday meeting. "It's going to be a very difficult process," Jenkins said. "It may pass (at public referendum), it may not -- it's hard to tell from the signatures. But whatever happens, there will be people unhappy one way or another." Town leaders have long voiced a need for increased economic development in the town, but a lack of necessary infrastructure in some areas has resulted in past proposed projects hanging in the balance. The Town Board last month voted to establish the extension, but a number of members of the public have said they think the property owners of the 286 parcels included in the sewer district expansion should be able to vote on the matter, which carries a cost for those within the district. At least 15 signatures, representing 5 percent of the district's assessed property value, were required to force the referendum, and at least 43 valid signatures were submitted, Moreau Town Clerk Jeanne Fleury said. The first petition was filed at 4:50 p.m. Friday by Rich Morris , who owns Toadflax Nursery on Route 9 . On Dec. 26 , the Town Board opened a 30-day permissive referendum period when it voted to adopt the district; the filing deadline was Monday. "I hope it passes, but I've heard a few people say, 'Why are we the ones paying for economic development?' " Jenkins said. "I understand the people who think it's wrong, but I'm not sure how else to do it with the circumstances." The matter is on the agenda for Tuesday's 7 p.m. Town Board meeting at the Municipal Complex on Reynolds Road . ___ Post-Star reporter Amanda Metzger contributed to this report. ___ (c)2014 The Post Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.) Visit The Post Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: Post-Star (Glen Falls, NY)

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