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Jamesville sewer project to continue despite cost increase

After a public hearing held Aug. 26 at the Jamesville Elementary School, the Dewitt Town Board unanimously voted to move to step inl with building a public sewer system in the hamlet of Jamesville.

Controversial cost increases since 2005 delayed action on the town-approved project. When the project was approved, the cost was expected to be $1.75 million, and today the price is estimated to be close to $2.4 million. Property owners will have to pay an increased amount of approximately $150 per year plus the price of hooking up to the sewer system, which is estimated to cost anywhere from $1,300 to $1,500.

Supervisor Ed Michalenko said the town board is constantly knocking on doors to get more grant money and will continue to do so during the course of this project. It is hoped an approved grant would lower the yearly price the residents will be required to pay.

According to town engineer Mike Kolceski, the reason for the additional costs is the increase in construction cost over the years. He said the project took so long to begin because of the length of time it took (to acquire individual rights-of-way) needed to put in the system.

"Right up front I will take blame and apologize, and take full responsibility because that did take such a long time," Michalenko said.

Many Jamesville residents who attended the hearing were in favor of continuing the process to build the system, but there were a few who questioned whether or not it was worth their extra tax money.

Some public concerns centered around the effects the project would have on business and school taxes. The board replied that the school board is well aware of the project and has incorporated it into its budget; construction will not interfere with businesses. Michalenko also said that the long-term effect on business should be a benefit.

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