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Public meeting on proposed sewer districts contentious, informative

North Lake Road resident Claudia Johnson, center holding microphone, asked the town board to explain the benefits to lakeside residents of creating a modern sewer and water district with a multi-million-dollar price tag. Johnson was one of multiple people who spoke at the Jan. 24 public meeting.

North Lake Road resident Claudia Johnson, center holding microphone, asked the town board to explain the benefits to lakeside residents of creating a modern sewer and water district with a multi-million-dollar price tag. Johnson was one of multiple people who spoke at the Jan. 24 public meeting. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— Three other districts are being considered. West Lake Sewer and Water District would extend public water and sewer to 86 parcels, at a (30 year amortized) cost of $120 per month. The Owaghena and Overlook areas, which are too far from the current water and sewer lines to connect in a cost-effective manner, would create Septic Management Districts, with retrofits and maintenance of their existing individual on-site systems. The monthly fees for the 21 parcels in Owaghena and 55 properties in Overlook (again assuming 30 year borrowing) would be around $40 per household for these two districts.

The town board has said the decision to proceed ultimately rests with the affected property owners, who will finance the districts, and the board’s efforts so far have including assessing whether members of the proposed districts will support the town in pursuing the project.

According to information posted on the town website, the board believes “that public management of wastewater disposal will prove to be cost-effective for the property owners, given the relatively low monthly cost associated with each district.”

The meeting

The Jan. 24 public information meeting was the next step in the process to evaluate the public opinion on moving forward with the Northeast Lake Sewer and Water District.

“We’re here to see if we can answer some people’s questions, concerns and doubts,” Race said at the beginning of the meeting. He asked everyone to speak with “mutual respect and decorum” during the meeting. “That’s the way we’re going to play it,” he said.

Karen Whipple, a resident of Owera Estates, in the first question of the evening asked the board to respond to accusations of conflict of interest between the town engineer’s firm and a currently-ongoing development project on North Lake Road.

Town Supervisor Ralph Monforte responded that the town planning board is putting out a Request for Proposals from “the engineering world” to hire an engineer for the project, and said that Dunkle will not be the engineer for that project.

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