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Funding for Ballston pump station uncertain

The Ballston Town Board voted to connect to the county water line 3-2 at the Tuesday, Feb. 23 meeting, but failed to pass the bond resolution that would dictate funding for the project, about $400,000 according to Supervisor Patti Southworth.

Southworth said she and new councilmember Jeremy Knight were the two votes against the connection and bonding because they feel juggling two water contracts is unnecessary and financially un-smart.

I have some issue with always feeling like we're using this credit card we can't pay off. The district is already struggling financially with the current water tower eight years behind schedule and needing work. We need to take care of the current infrastructure and maintain it before building new projects, said Southworth.

Southworth said she met with the water authority chairman but didn't make progress towards a financially appropriate decision of how to bond the water pump.

"You can't bond the pump station for 20 years without knowing how you're going to pay for it or how you're going to pay for other necessary upkeep," said Southworth.

She said she also met with the chairman of the IDA, former Ballston supervisor Ray Calahan, to work on a program they hope to introduce and pass at the March 8 meeting. Southworth said she couldn't yet comment on specifics but said it might help secure funding for the bonding, which would make her feel a little better about connecting.

"The water authority was not giving us any extensions [to secure funding] but the town board still felt they needed to force a vote and now the position we're in is to go forward on a project that has no funding, doesn't make sense," said Southworth. "You don't buy a car or house without a loan and this is the same thing. We need to know how we're paying for something before getting involved in a project."

If a program to secure some type of funding is successful at the March 8 meeting, Southworth said she will likely call another board meeting to take a look at what's on the table and begin to think long term.

"We can't keep putting debt upon debt because it will never clear up. We really need to set up a program to handle long term debt and put aside capital reserve funds for projects that already need and will need routine maintenance work," said Southworth.

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