Thursday, 02 November 2017 18:14

Malta Democrats Call for Better Town Planning, More Solar Power

(Left to right) Malta Democrats Cynthia Young, Bill Breheny, Michelle Storm and Tracy O'Rourke. Photo provided. 

MALTA – Among the goals of Democratic candidates for town offices this fall are more comprehensive planning for water and sewer infrastructure, as well as bringing the benefits of solar energy to Malta.

“We should proactively encourage the solar industry in Malta, especially when it comes to developing solar power for town buildings and other facilities,” said Bill Breheny, candidate for Malta supervisor. “And I think we should be doing a better job of planning for new water or sewer lines.”

Two candidates for town board seats, Cynthia Young and Tracy O’Rourke, also said they would encourage more community participation when it comes to consideration and planning of new water and sewer lines.

Malta has no town-wide water system, and many residents rely on small, isolated private water systems, each serving a single subdivision or small area. The Democrats note that the neighboring town of Clifton Park’s water problems historically resulted from the existence of too many “small-community” water systems built for individual subdivisions. As Malta grows, it should be more proactive in avoiding or remedying this patchwork approach, they said.

Republicans on the town board recently approved a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which said the town “generally defers planning and construction” of water and wastewater facilities to private developers. The impact statement also reported, “no potential adverse environmental impacts to utilities are expected. Therefore, no mitigation measures are required.”

Breheny says this is a shortsighted approach and also doesn’t take into account the real, current needs of homes and businesses that have complained about poor water or sewer facilities. If elected, he vowed to secure sufficient funding for such projects.

The three Democratic candidates also noted that, in some cases, development has eliminated or degraded well-fields in the town’s open spaces, where rainwater percolates underground to become a source of well water. They believe conservation of open space is critical to ensuring that property owners who rely on private wells will continue to have safe, sufficient water.

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