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Skaneateles: Town approves drainage assessments

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.

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