"According to Steve Devan, Oneida County Commissioner of Water Quality and Water Pollution Control, the recommendations include additions to the 2010 Sewer District budget, as follows:This professionally produced press piece tells the truth (presumably) ... but not the whole truth.
1. The addition of $630,000 in the operating budget to fund district-wide project costs.
2. A consumption-based fee assessed on sewer district users residing in the nine communities tributary to the Sauquoit Creek Pump Station. The fee is expected to raise $1.2 million to fund a capital project debt service account to begin repairs mandated by the Consent Order.
The Committee has recommended that the $1.2 million amount be raised from a consumption-based charge of $1.05 per thousand gallons of water used, per account. This component affects the Villages of: Clayville, New Hartford, New York Mills, Oriskany, Whitesboro, Yorkville; and the Towns of New Hartford, Paris, and Whitestown. The repairs for those nine communities are expected to total approximately $79.2 million, the preliminary engineering data shows.A second phase of the project, if needed to further reduce the overflows that go into the Mohawk River from the sewer system, would invest approximately $79 million more in district-wide repairs and improvements to the system. The additional amount would be required if the initial work at the community-specific repairs does not yield enough improvement to fully satisfy the Consent Order’s requirements for overflow reduction. Preliminary engineering estimates have placed the total costs of needed system repairs at $158 million at today’s costs."
It distracts us by first recommending that $630,000 (about 0.4% of the $158M total price tag) be added to the operating budget without telling us who will pay for it or identifying what "district-wide" project costs there will be.
It distracts us again by recommending that $1.2 million (about 0.8% of the $158M total price tag) be raised from a suburban sewer user fee without disclosing How was this figure arrived at or what portion of the debt service it will pay for.
After you've gotten through the above trivialities, it then tells us that $79.2 million (about 50% of the $158M total price tag) will be needed for "community-specific" repairs -- Without telling us who will pay for it. Will this come out of Town taxes and Village taxes, or some other mechanism to be determined by whom? Will Village residents be forced to pick up Both a Town share and a Village share? Who will determine that?
Lastly, it tells us that $79 million (50% of the $158M total price tag) will go for "district-wide" work "if needed" without identifying who would pay for it, what "district-wide" work would be appropriate to remedy a violation that occurred only on the Sauquoit line/overflow, or how likely this work would NOT be needed; or recommending a funding mechanism for it.
Here we have a very artfully done press release that does a great job of hiding the facts.
"District-Wide" is a synonym for "Utica pays." Utica residents, again, will wind up paying for a huge chunk of this suburb-county law violation -- carrying the water (literally!) for the suburbs. When will elected Utica representatives wake up and start looking out for the best interests of their constituents?
And in this case, representatives of the Villages better look out for their residents, too. The Yorkville Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) was allowed to exist for many years under an exception to the Clean Water Act that recognized it would be financially impossible for older municipalities (here, our Villages) to retrofit their old systems to bring them up to current day standards. That CSO now has to be shut down becaue of County and primarily Town of New Hartford law breaking. The County and Town of NH increased their tax bases by allowing improper sewer connections-- causing the Villages to now have to spend $millions because they lost their right to use a CSO.
The recommendations of the sewer committee are merely a whitewash and continuation of the current administration's favoritism for suburban Towns at the expense of Utica and the Villages.