July 7, 2015
1. Courtesy of the Floor
Lake Osceola: Area resident Janice Donadio asked the board to do something about the rising level of the lake that is encroaching on her property. She said that the state DOT had looked into the issue and found nothing wrong. Supervisor Grace and Highway Superintendent said they would look into the matter but that earlier investigations had not turned up any blockage at the outlet or sign of beaver dams.
Water meters: Howard Frank again brought up the issue of the town’s water loss ratio and spoke in favor of completing the meter project. In response, Supervisor Grace said that the loss was due to leaks and that it made more sense to “harden” the water district’s infrastructure than replace existing meters. He noted that the installation of the first 2,500 new meters had not resulted in any reduction in the percentage of water loss.
In response to the supervisor’s comments, I explained that there were two related issues: the water loss ratio and the ongoing loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to the water district because meters aren’t accurately recording the water that is being consumed. The lost revenue was based on the accuracy tests done on 1,693 old meters that were replaced. I explained that the additional revenue from usage charges would mean that the water district tax rate could be reduced. I also pointed out that the meters would save an additional $150,000 /year because the town could eliminate, by attrition, two meter reader positions.
Councilman Patel also spoke in favor of completing the meter project, noting that it would enable homeowners to monitor their usage and control their bills. Councilman Diana said that completing the project would require the construction of a new tower to read the additional meters, a statement I refuted as being totally inaccurate.
Hallocks Mill Sewers: Gary Ajello, an unsewered homeowner on Brookside Avenue, wanted to know when he might expect to hook up to the sewage treatment plant. In response, Supervisor Grace explained that the town was still waiting for the DEC to schedule a public hearing on the town’s SPDES permit; the two critical permit provisions being whether the town will be allowed to report flows to the plant on a yearly “rolling average” as opposed to monthly averages, and the plant’s permitted flow level (The expired permit was for 1.5 mgd, but the upgraded plant was designed to handle 2.5 mgd.) Acting Town Engineer Robinson said the town was expecting the hearing “during the summer” but did not have any more specific information. The town anticipates that based on the new permit, it will be able to create additional neighborhood sewer districts for the unsewered portions of the greater Hallocks Mill District.
I added that a critical part of any discussion about creating new sewer districts will be the issue of cost and that will be determined by how the town decides to allocate the $10 million of East of Hudson funds and how many homeowners want to be sewered. It was left open whether that discussion should begin now or wait until the DEC issues the new SPDES permit.
Police Sergeant John LaPlaca was appointed to the position of Lieutenant.
3. New special permit for a “Community Care Facility”
In a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Grace voting no, the board referred out for comment draft language for a proposed new special permit for a broadly defined “community care facility” that would provide temporary transitional housing for people recovering from an illness but which would not provide any on site medical services. The definition would cover any future sober living home.
I explained that after the board receives comments on the draft, it will work on a revised draft that will be the basis for a proposed local law that will be subject to a public hearing. Residents wishing to comment on this early draft are encouraged to submit their comments to the town clerk. Copies of the draft are available from the clerk’s office or by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMINDER: The July 21st board meeting will be held at the Mohegan Colony Association Beach at the corner of Oak and High Streets. The meeting will begin at 6pm. The location is subject to change based on the weather.