County OKs Initial Plans for Phase II Sewer District | News, Sports, Jobs
MAYVILLE — While construction of Phase I sewers on Chautauqua Lake is still underway, county lawmakers have given the go-ahead to begin Phase II.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature, county lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to issue $24 million in bonds to pay for the cost of the design and construction of an extension to the South Chautauqua Lake Sewer District. They also passed a resolution establishing the account as well as a resolution establishing the boundaries of the district.
Before the vote on the resolutions, a public hearing took place where several residents took the floor. The majority of comments related to specifics about their ownership, what they would be responsible for vs. what the sewer district would be responsible for, who would and would not be included in the district, as well as whether they were required to join, what they were told they were.
Among the speakers at the public hearing was John Jablonski of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy. He noted that the CWC owns wetlands around Chautauqua Lake and requested that not only their wetlands, but all wetlands be removed from the sewer district.
The reason, he said, is to discourage any future development on the wetlands. “We should not encourage people who would potentially pay assessments on land in this district that should not be developed as these are wetlands which help to protect the lake from pollution from roads and other places,” said Jablonski.
He added that the CWC supports the cleanup of Chautauqua Lake.
A resident of the town of Chautauqua has expressed concern about being forced to abandon her septic tank and hook up to the public sewer. The woman, who lives on Davis Road, said she loved the water from her well and did not want any work done that could harm her.
She also expressed concerns about the cost, since residents have to pay to connect to the sewer. Initial estimates are between $3,000 and $5,000, plus the annual cost of $1,000.
“I am concerned about the economic conditions which are increasing at the moment,” she says. “They talk about a recession. … There are a lot of rich people on the lake and it doesn’t matter to them, but to a lot of people it does.
South and Central Chautauqua Lake Sewer Director Tom Walsh said county law requires residents to join. He offered to speak to any residents who had further concerns about costs or connecting lines after the meeting.
He added that more informative public hearings will take place in the future.
The Phase II expansion had received approval from the county planning board as well as various legislative committees earlier in the month.
According to documents submitted at the meeting, Phase II will serve approximately 520 parcels along a 3.6-mile stretch of Highway 394 in the towns of North Harmony and Chautauqua.
In terms of timing, a survey and design would be created from spring 2023 to spring 2024. In summer 2024, tenders would begin. Construction would take place from winter 2024 to winter 2026.
Walsh added that the timeline may vary depending on how things go.
The $24 million project is broken down into $15 million from state and federal funds, and $9 million from a loan, which would be paid for by users. According to Walsh, the annual cost for each resident will not exceed $1,000, according to the state comptroller. Of that $1,000 paid per user, $350 would go to processing and maintenance, and $650 would go to capital costs. The loan is for 30 years, interest free.
Commercial businesses are billed differently. Instead of the $1,000 flat rate, they will be charged based on water usage.
The Phase I extension began in 2021 and is expected to be completed by 2023.
When Phase II is complete, officials said the west side of Chautauqua Lake will be completely drained.