Aug 13, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles village water system has completed its ultraviolet water filtration system and is moving forward with its plans to tie-in village water to the town, the village board of trustees announced at their Aug. 9 meeting.
“For all intents and purposes we are done with the UV system,” said Bob Lotkowictz, director of municipal operations.
The UV filtration system installation was a project mandated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to treat unfiltered drinking water such as Skaneateles Lake. While the total project took years to complete, actual implementation began last August and was completed on schedule at the end of March. Since then, the water department has been busy learning how to operate the system, making tweaks and addressing typical post-construction issues, Lotkowictz said.
“We are fully approved by the state Department of Health,” said Mayor Marty Hubbard.
Hubbard added that the UV system will not increase village water rates and the financing costs of the project will rollover to residents’ water bills. That fee will replace a soon-to-expire fee currently on water bills — listed as “cont time,” — from a 1995 capital improvement project bond. The elimination of the old fee should balance with the addition of the new fee.
The UV system cost $800,000 in total project costs, but much of the bill was offset by state and federal grants. The remaining balance will be absorbed by customers.
Hubbard also announced that village and town officials submitted a local government efficiency grant application to the New York State Department of State last week to offset costs involved in the UV system. The grant was for $400,000 — $200,000 each for the village and the town — and Hubbard complimented Lotkowictz, village clerk Patty Couch and Town Supervisor Terri Roney for completing the application process.
“It has taken an awful lot of work behind the scenes to get this done,” Hubbard said.
Part of the reason the town joined in the application was its upcoming tie-in to the village water system. The town decided to tie-in to the village water system due to an unfunded federal mandate forcing municipalities to cover or discontinue use of any open reservoirs by Jan. 1, 2013. The town currently has two uncovered reservoirs that would cost about $1 million to cover, Roney said.
The town currently buys its water from the village. That water is treated, piped to the village storage tower, and, for Water District No. 1, run into the town’s reservoirs. The new setup will leave the water in the village tanks and close the reservoirs. The other water districts in the town do not use the reservoirs.
The Onondaga County Health Department and EPA already approved these plans.
Roney said the town tie-in just made sense, considering the large cost to cover the reservoirs. But she added that without the reservoirs the town and village should look at building a new water tank elsewhere as a joint village-town project.
“Long term, as a community, we need to come up with long range plans for the entire water system,” Roney said.
Onondaga County Comptroller Robert E. Antonacci did an independent study of the town and village water operations and found that the tie-in was the best use of the water system “short of a total consolidation,” Hubbard said. “We are doing the best job for rate payers under the current setup; the county comptroller proved that with the study.”
Also at the meeting, the board:
—Approved the asbestos abatement bid award to Jupiter Environmental Systems of Rochester for the new village hall building. The board directed Village Attorney Michael J. Byrne to issue a “notice to proceed” to the company to begin the work.
—Accepted a bid of $36,630.85 from Bass Pro Shops to purchase two new Mercury outboard motors for the Skaneateles Fire Department’s rescue boats.
—Approved an agreement with Syracuse Technologies to create an offsite data backup of village records for $75 per month. The move will not only backup records but eliminate paper through electronic data storage, said Trustee Mary Sennett.
—Authorized the publication of a bid notice for 30 new air cylinders and 50 new face pieces for air packs for the Skaneateles Fire department. Bids will be opened at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the village offices. The SFD currently has 32 air packs that are old and need to be replaced. “This is very necessary equipment and we have to support our volunteers,” said Mayor Marty Hubbard.
—Agreed to declare two village computers as surplus property and offer both as a donation to the Skaneateles Historical Society after the hard drives have been completely scrubbed of village information.
—Agreed to submit a statement to the New York State Thruway Authority opposing the proposed 45 percent toll increase for large (three-axle) trucks on the New York State Thruway due to the negative impact it will have on truck traffic in the village. The statement, drafted Aug. 9, explained that the affected commercial vehicles will seek to avoid the increased tolls by driving alternate roads, such as Route 20, which will increase big truck traffic through the village. This is a “quality of life issue for our residents and a safety concern for our lake,” the letter stated. Trustee Jim Lanning volunteered to submit the statement at the public hearing on the proposed toll increase, which will occur from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, 6301 State Route 298, in East Syracuse.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.