Oct 25, 2006 Martha E. Conway Uncategorized
Those who missed the special meeting of the Sullivan Town Council at Bridgeport Elementary School Oct. 17 will get a second chance. The meeting, videotaped by PAC 99, the area’s public access television station, will be aired at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday Oct. 27.
About 150 residents packed the cafeteria and crowded doorways and halls to hear the public information meeting regarding the Bridgeport Sewer Initiative, which Supervisor John M. Becker has been working overtime to get funded and underway. His aim is to get sewers along the remainder of the south shore of Oneida Lake through Hitchcock Point.
The initiative was strongly recommended in the town’s comprehensive plan completed in 2004 and adopted earlier this year.
Becker said the project is necessary to promote the growth needed to support the town and lower taxes.
“The Oot [Harbor Lights] project alone will assess out at $38 million,” Becker said. “These aren’t homes that are going to attract people with children and place a burden on our schools. That project alone will put $127,000 into town coffers and $950,000 into our schools. The same type of situation is expected at Fisher Bay.”
“We had quite a lot of requests for sewers before Mastriano’s proposal,” said Dep. Supervisor Bill Cole, “so not everyone up there is against it.”
Engineer Ken Knutsen with Barton & Loguidice presented the scenarios explored this year, explaining their costs and methods. He handed out income survey forms to support the town’s federal grant eligibility application. The entire installation, proposed in two phases to be completed consecutively but included under the same project, is expected to cost about $14 million.
“The biggest challenge is going to be funding, so I’m going to ask for your help tonight,” Knutsen said. “We’re going to try to use this information for our grant proposal.”
Bob Wilson of Damon’s Point asked about the timeline for the proposed project.
“We want to try to get this funded as soon as possible and begin construction in 2008,” Becker said.
Some residents wanted to know if they will have an opportunity to vote on whether to approve the project.
“You will have the opportunity to vote after we find out what funding we can get,” Becker said. “You want to listen and you want to be careful and understand what we’re trying to do. This will go to a vote or permissive referendum, but if you’re not in the district, you can’t vote on it.”
According to Becker, the goal is to obtain enough funding to get the cost per unit within the state’s $585 maximum allowable cost. The project will require more than 50 percent of homeowners representing more than 50 percent of the assessed value in the proposed district to go forward.
Engineer Christ Lawton, also with Barton & Loguidice, said since the project will be completed in two extensions, if residents of the lakeshore vote it down, the hamlet will not be left out. Lawton said the project doesn’t necessarily have to be piecemealed.
“If we get the funding and the majority [of residents] are on board, it can be done all at once,” Lawton said.
“We feel this is a last-ditch effort,” Becker said. “The [state Department of Environmental Conservation] has stated that if we don’t get this project done now, we may never get it done. Construction costs are getting to be way too much.”
The Sullivan Town Council will hold its annual budget public hearing at 7 p.m. Oct. 25. The council’s next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 1. Both meetings will be held in the large conference room at the town office building.
For more information, call 687-9190.