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City water commissioner explains lake levels

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Commissioner of Water Deborah Somers letter to Terri Roney, Skaneateles town supervisor

— The Skaneateles Lake water level is within the acceptable monthly range.

That was the brief message sent from Syracuse Water Department Commissioner Deborah Summers to Skaneateles Town Supervisor Terri Roney last week in response to the town’s concerns of excessively high lake levels again causing lakeshore property damage next spring.

“We will continue to discharge [dam water] at flow rates necessary to meet monthly ranges,” Somers wrote in a Dec. 6 letter, which was a response to a previous letter from Roney.

Somers wrote that the city water department had “initiated an increase from the required minimum dam discharge” in September, and continued with increases in October and November.

“As of today’s date the lake level is 0.25 feet above the December range of 861.50 to 861.55,” Somers wrote.

While Roney has not commented on the content of Somers’ response letter, her original letter to Somers, dated Nov. 7, suggests that the town supervisor is unhappy with the current lake levels.

“When the lake level is left at its highest acceptable level and storms occur, as they invariably will, property owners along the lake suffer extensive property damage that in most, if not all, cases they have to repair solely at their own expense. There is no FEMA money available to them and in many cases insurance does not cover the damage,” Roney wrote.

The lake level at the end of October this year was less than one inch lower than it was at the same time in 2010, and the lake level is eight inches above the lowest acceptable level of the range set for the end of October, Roney stated.

Copies of Roney’s letter were sent to Skaneateles Village Mayor Marty Hubbard and to Skaneateles Lake Association member Fran Fish.

“She answered as I expected,” Fish said about Somers’ response.

A full copy of Somers’ letter is available on the Skaneateles Press website, skaneatelespress.com.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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