DOLGEVILLE — For any development to begin at the Manheim Business Park, the village of Dolgeville will need to determine its water and sewer capacity before infrastructure can be installed at the site.
A meeting between the village board and the Manheim Town Board was held Monday at the village office with representatives of the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency in attendance to address questions and concerns from board members about the park.
"The next step forward, as water and sewer services are a necessary component for any industrial development, is the village assessment of excess availability of water and sewer services, as the village would be providing them," said Dolgeville Mayor Mary Puznowski in an email Tuesday. "The residents of the Dolgeville are our top priority, and we want to make sure that we establish a correct percentage for growth within the industrial park that does not impact the services we currently offer our residents."
Puznowski said the water tower, which is being proposed as part of the development plans at the park, would be a benefit for village residents. "... [W]e would improve water service and water pressure to the residents on that end of the village, and outside the village water users," she said. "It will also provide a secondary and temporary source of water in the event of a breakdown in the main system, which is located [four] miles away in the [t]own of Salisbury."
Puznowski also said the water tower could be used for fire protection, as low water pressure has been a problem in the area. "The county IDA would bear the costs involved in erecting the structure, and that would be a win/win for us all," she said.
The meeting included a PowerPoint presentation from Jon Putnam, of GHD Consultants, regarding the engineering studies the firm has already performed at the site. Puznowski said the presentation "made quite clear the route to getting water services to the Manheim site, including the water tower plans."
The 30 acres of land that make up the park, owned by the IDA, are on Barker Road, in the town of Manheim, but the water and sewer service would come from the village.
Puznowski said the question was raised during the meeting on whether the village is to own all of the water and sewer infrastructure associated with the park, along with the water tower, and if that would mean whether a water district would even need to be formed.
"Our lawyers will be exploring this option," she said. "… The village will be meeting in the near future to discuss these issues."
Other officials in attendance at felt the meeting was a positive gathering.
"I thought it went great," said John Piseck, IDA executive director. "… The village needs to determine if they have the water and sewer capacity. However, all of our studies show they have enough water and sewer."
Plans for the park, so far, include the construction of a warehouse facility at the site and the construction of a meat processing facility. Piseck noted, however, nothing is official yet as far as businesses coming to the park since the infrastructure needs to come first.
The IDA received a consolidated funding application grant for $1.8 million to construct a 50,000 square foot building and a water tower at the park.
Also in attendance at the meeting were two IDA board members, two county legislators and the county administrator, along with attorneys representing all three parties.
Piseck said the village and town boards had a quorum.
A potential water and sewer district, should one be formed, would occur in the town. Manheim Town Supervisor Haughton said it would take six to 12 months for a district to form.
"Some in the community are kind of concerned about one of the businesses," said Haughton, who added none of the proposed companies looking to build there have "signed on the dotted line." He said "factual information" was provided to those in attendance.
Caryl Hopson, of Dolgeville, said she attended the meeting and expressed her concerns regarding the construction of the meat processing plant at the park.
"There were several of us who expressed concerns about such a facility, but I felt it fell on deaf ears," she said. "What I discovered is that if a new sewer and water district is created, only the residents living within the boundaries of that new district would be able to vote on it, and the residents have no say as to what business goes into the business park, even though it may impact their lives on a regular basis."
Hopson said the Manheim Zoning Board will make the decision to issue the permits for businesses at the park, adding her concerns include the environmental impact, the economic impact including how it would affect property values and tractor trailer traffic.