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Guest commentary: Information about proposed town sewer project

OPINION

Finally, yearly sewer and water usage fees would be approximately $390 per year for sewer and between $100 and $300 per year for water, depending on usage. It should be noted that any costs associated with wells and septic systems will no longer be incurred.

Next steps

In order to proceed beyond these preliminary plans and estimates, the town engineer will prepare a formal map, plan, and report containing the information for owners to make an informed decision, including district boundaries and more accurate cost estimates.

Then, to proceed further, New York state law requires that a sewer district be formed. This can happen in two ways. One option is that the town board can create the district and submit it to a referendum of the affected homeowners. Our choice is the second option: a petition circulated by the homeowners in the proposed district.

Under the petition method, the board cannot further consider the formation of the proposed district unless a petition is first presented that contains the signatures of the owners of taxable real property representing at least 51 percent of the taxable assessed value of the property in the district. This petition simply allows the town board to schedule a public hearing to understand the support (or lack of support) for the formation of the district.

The town board would then hold a public hearing; conduct an environmental review of the project; and make a decision as to whether or not to move forward, based on the vote, the public hearing and the environmental review process. Assuming the NE Sewer and Water District was formed at this point, the formation documents could specify a maximum project cost and/or a maximum individual unit cost. The project must be approved by the health department, the department of environmental conservation, and the state comptroller.

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