More than 200 people, including residents of other towns to which Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) provides water, met at the Bloomfield Senior Center to discuss ways to take action against a plan that is effectively a done deal.
“We’ve had a number of people get involved. A number of towns have become involved because it’s become more than a Bloomfield issue,” said Bloomfield resident David Mann.
Niagara Bottling wants to build a $73 million water plant on Woodland Avenue and has been talking with Bloomfield officials since July. But residents say they only learned about it in December. That’s when the town council unanimously voted to support a tax abatement agreement with Niagara. Previous to that, the proposal also passed through the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Wetlands Commission.
Just this month, Niagara officially purchased the land where they plan to build their 443,000 square foot facility.
The group opposing Niagara in Bloomfield has organized under the name “Bloomfield Citizens,” starting a campaign on social media and through word of mouth. They encouraged people at the meeting to contact members of the Bloomfield Town Council demanding they reverse their decision on the tax abatement plan.
Bloomfield resident Sharon Mann said, “We’ve just tried to present the facts to the public, so they know what’s happening. There hasn’t been a lot of transparency in this situation>”
Previously, town officials have said pulling out of the deal now would open them up to lawsuits. They also say the facility will add $1.2 million to Bloomfield’s tax base and bring dozens of jobs.
During the meeting, they also encouraged people to contact MDC CEO Scott Jellison asking MDC to revoke discounted rates for high-volume users, which would include Niagara.
Jellison was at the meeting Thursday night. All along he has told concerned citizens MDC can easily supply the 1.8 million gallons of water a day the plant would use