Jan 04, 2009 Martha E. Conway Uncategorized
Councilman John Brzuszkiewicz expressed concern at the Dec. 17 Sullivan Town Council meeting that some people were being excluded from the proposed sewer project in the Lakeport-Bridgeport area. He said at that meeting he didn’t understand why a section of lakefront parcels would not be included in the project.
“Three years ago, they didn’t want it,” Supervisor John M. Becker said, referring to initial resistance to the project. “The train has left the station. The work has been done. But there is a slug of money coming [to help fund it], and now they want it. These other folks were willing to take a risk at $900 to $1,000 a unit.”
“But we didn’t go to these people and say, ‘Pass a petition,'” Brzuszkiewicz said. “There needs to be research on how to do it to make it cost-effective and not exclude those people.”
Brzuszkiewicz said all it will take to torpedo the entire Bridgeport Sewer Initiative Project is a couple of complaints to political leaders from residents in the area not included in the district.
“This is a totally different group of people [from those who protested the project three years ago],” Brzuszkiewicz said. “A lot of people have moved there in the last couple of years, and they want it.”
Councilman David Miner said the town cannot keep changing the scope of the project during the process.
Dep. Supervisor William Cole agreed.
“We’ve got to know the costs,” Cole said. “When we go to the people and ask for money, we need to know what we’re asking for, and adding this now will throw the projected costs out of whack.”
“We should proceed as planned and add then if we can down the line,” Miner said.
Engineer Ken Knutsen of Barton & Loguidice said the town cannot introduce such a drastic alteration to a project that’s already been presented to funders and potential funders.
“Maybe we can get those residents who have been most vocal to go around and get signatures indicating their interest in forming a district,” Knutsen said. “Right now, we’re working within the confines of our funding sources.”
Lawton said his firm could cost the area out separately and have it ready to go in case the $14 million limit was raised or the core project comes in under budget.
“I understand,” Brzuszkiewicz said. “I’m just telling you the whole thing could come to a screeching halt with a few letters to the Congressmen who are going to give us this money. There has to be some consideration to accommodate them in the future.”
Miner said it was his understanding that the town’s goal is to sewer the entire area.
“It’s just a matter of when and doing it in phases,” Miner said.
“If this project doesn’t go through, nobody gets sewers,” said Supervisor John M. Becker. “If we lose this funding, there won’t be sewers ever.”
Becker said he didn’t want anyone omitted from getting sewers if they want them.
“But we’ve been working on this project for three years,” Becker said, adding that the town successfully applied for a grant to conduct a professional study of the Route 31 corridor on which to base decisions regarding future growth. “The room was packed [in response to discussion of the topic]. They didn’t want amateurs to rezone Route 31. They didn’t want another Clay. We listened.”
According to Becker, town representatives are trying to conduct business in accordance with what residents want, but the direction the town is going cannot continue to change midstream, or nothing is going to get done.
“We could cost it out and be ready in case the $14 million [project funding limit] line moves,” said engineer Christian Lawton. “That way we can consider how it affects the per-unit cost with the added population.”
Becker said preliminary estimates show that those along the lake who have changed their minds about getting sewers may be better off waiting and forming their own district.
“It looks like they may have a lower per-unit cost if they do it that way,” Becker said. “I don’t want anyone left unserved.”
Becker said the town isn’t saying, “No,” they are just saying, “not now.”
The town council will meet with residents in the area of the proposed district Saturday Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. in the Chittenango High School auditorium.
The town council will hold its reorganization and regular meeting Wednesday Jan. 7. For more information, call 697-9190.