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Fenton Supervisor Says He Now Has Concerns Over Proposed Natural Gas Project

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Before the Fenton Town Board meeting began on Wednesday night, Town Supervisor Dave Hamlin told Fox 40 he now has concerns about a Vermont-based energy company's bid to build a compressor and filling station to transport compressed natural gas on West Service Road.

"I'm concerned, I'm concerned...my concerns are of course the residents and how they feel about it," said Hamlin.

Hamlin, who, in the past, has supported the project is also questioning how much NG Advantage's station would benefit the Town of Fenton.

"You look at jobs, that's great but you also look at how's it going to benefit the Town and really it'll be a minimal amount in property tax, so it's not really going to hurt us either way," said Hamlin.

The company says its virtual pipeline would create 150 news jobs and contribute $750,000 annually in payroll, fuel, and property tax payments.

Hamlin remarks comes as the town board tries to determine who will serve as the lead agency during the review process. The Fenton Planning Board did not have enough votes to make itself the lead during a September 26 vote.

And Hamlin was not the only Fenton representative to express a change at the meeting.

Fenton Town Attorney, Albert Millus, said his stance has changed, too.

"When this first came up, I was in favor of it just as a citizen. I think we're wasting a great natural resource here that's a lot cleaner than our energy now, but right now, I'm not in favor of it or against it," said Millus. "I'm willing to wait and see what the more detailed environmental review comes up with." 

Hamlin says there are around 14 different state agencies that the Town Board will now go to in order to find one to lead the project a process that will only continue to delay NG Advantage's plan of getting gas to customers by the end of 2017.

"Their timeline was their timeline and not ours, they were told by our engineer that it was very ambitious, so it's not going to work out that way." — Dave Hamlin, Fenton Town Supervisor

He adds that he hopes one of the state agencies picks up the project and reviews it, so that it's out of Fenton's hands.

"I'd like to take it right out of the Town and just have a professional agency actually review the process," said Hamlin. "If they come down and say 'no' then it's no, it's just the way it is," said Hamlin. The Town says they also plan to hire Delta Engineers, Architects, & Land Surveyors, DPC out of Endwell to review the findings from the lead agency.

While the natural gas project update was the primary focus of the meeting, it certainly wasn't the only controversial discussion on the agenda. The Board had proposed a set up 22 rules for public meetings including limits to how long a resident can speak and banning signs and banners. That vote was tabled after Millus advised them to review the document before making a final decision on whether or not to pass them.

Town Planning Board Chairman, John Eldred also agreed to move the next meeting from October 31 to October 30. 

You can read the full proposed meeting rules of conduct below: