Oct 26, 2009 Miranda L. Pennock Uncategorized
Drainage districts are still fairly new to the town of Skaneateles, but that doesn’t mean the town board isn’t preparing for the maintenance of them.
On Thursday Oct. 22 the Skaneateles Town Board held a public hearing on drainage district assessments and then voted, unanimously, to approve the legislation that will allow the town to bill districts for maintenance funds.
According to C&S Engineers engineer John Camp, any time a large project is completed requiring the movement of one or more acres of land, the contractor must provide a permanent post construction storm water treatment facility.
“They require maintenance anywhere from every year to every five to 10 years,” Camp said.
Essentially, the maintenance necessary involves cleaning the ponds out with large equipment and hauling sediment away that collects on the bottom and diminishes the quality of the water being let out into streams and lakes.
Currently, the town is not required by the Environmental Protection Act to maintain these facilities.
In order to be sure the storm water facilities are maintained, inspected and cleaned regularly, the town will be setting up assessment fees — a certain amount of money per lot that drains into a pond — in order to keep the ponds clean.
“Every lot [in the district] would be assessed a fee designed to go toward maintenance,” Camp said.
The board has set up for every lot in the Butters Farm subdivision to pay $300 toward maintenance. The second approved district, Hidden Estates, is currently one lot scheduled to be subdivided into four lots. The board has approved a $1,200 assessment fee for the single lot, to be divided equally among the four lots once subdivided.
Camp said fees will be set on a project by project basis.
Town Attorney Patrick Sardino said the assessment will be done each year. The numbers set by the board are for this tax year, 2010.
Butters Farm resident Joanne Moore said she thinks having the ponds maintained should be an internal matter as the homeowner’s association is set up to collect money from the residents to have the ponds cleaned. She also said her feeling was that it is unfair for the town to step in and say that while the homeowner’s association isn’t doing anything wrong, “we’re going to make sure you don’t.”
“The town is ultimately responsible,” Supervisor Phil Tierney said.
Sardino said the problem with waiting to find out if the association has done what they were supposed to do could be catastrophic. If the pond gets full of sediment and backed up, it won’t affect the residents draining into it as they are up hill from it. However, the run off will adversely affect residents down hill, according to Camp.
“If something happens, a property owner isn’t going to go to Butters Farm Homeowners Association, they’re going to look to you [the town board] to have the town fix it,” Sardino said.
The town also would not be double billing the district. Tierney said the funds for the drainage district don’t necessarily have to be part of the homeowner’s association special assessment, as they are now, but the town would instead bill the district a levy to raise the funds needed.
Butters Farm has been in operation for four years and, according to Moore, has to date not had a professional inspection done on the district’s storm water treatment facility.
The board closed the hearing and immediately opted to adopt the resolution.
Councilor Ellen Kulik said while she understands the concerns about another tax, it would be more expensive for the district if something were to happen with the pond.
“I know you take care of things up there. This is really a protection for you because you could be hit with a bill down the road and you don’t want that,” said Councilor Nancy Murray.
The board approved the legislation.
In other news, the board:
Scheduled three public hearings. At 7:15 p.m. Nov. 5 the town board will hear testimony regarding the 2010 preliminary budget and also the 2010 dispatch contract. At 7:15 p.m. Dec. 3 the board will hold a hearing in regard to the Briggs sewer district, which would serve a subdivision currently being planned by contractor Alan Briggs in Skaneateles Falls.
Adopted a six-month windmill moratorium.
Approved a crawler/loader to be listed as surplus equipment for the Skaneateles Transfer Station in order to sell it. The equipment will be put out to bid with the bids to be opened Nov. 17 and the purchaser to pay for it by Nov. 20.