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Village Board hears proposal, details, on possible sewer district

MILLERTON — Intrigued by the proposal for a sewer district in Millerton, local residents attended the Village Board meeting on Monday, Aug. 2, to learn more from Tighe & Bond Senior Project Manager Erin Moore.

Held at the Village Offices at 6 p.m., the meeting drew 15 people, including board members. After giving a recap of Millerton’s wastewater feasibility study, project scope and four main tasks, Moore announced the project’s engineering report was submitted and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Environmental Facilities Corporation last June. The next step, she said, is the district formation stage.

Moore said Phase One looked into a collection system focused on the business district and a treatment system located at the corner of South Center Street and Mill Street on a village-owned parcel. A septic tank effluent pump system was the best recommended collection system for Millerton, particularly in terms of costs and handling solids.

In addition to demonstrating how the system works, Moore listed some of the advantages of this kind of collection system, such as how it “avoids costly and nearly impossible to permit state and federal road opening by traveling along property lines”; avoids the gravity pipe and large pump station approach previously considered for Millerton; and continues solids handled by licensed septic haulers customized by individual properties.

Looking into the sewer district formation stage, Millerton was broken into different areas to understand where sewer services are needed. 

Considering the costs of providing service to the entire village, she said Millerton has two options: to continue with a plan for servicing the entire village or to develop a hybrid plan.

In continuing the plan to service the entire village, Millerton would develop a map, plan a report that would develop costs for every parcel and estimate when additional phases may be completed. 

In developing a hybrid plan, Millerton would develop a plan for servicing the business district. This plan would recommend continued use of septic systems for the remaining parcels but include the expansion potential at the wastewater treatment system.

Moore explained that a sewer service area formation is “a complex legal process that can be hindered by an intermunicipal approach.” 

For the proposed North East Sewer District, the Boulevard District was among the highest priority areas since wastewater service to the Boulevard District can facilitate grocery store development. 

Moore recommended that, in concert with the village, the town of North East should pursue sewer district formation and then create an intermunicipal agreement. 

The design and construction of both the Millerton and North East service areas, she said, could be accomplished at the same time to allow concurrent service, though Moore said Millerton isn’t dependent on the successful creation of the North East Sewer District for the project to continue on schedule.

Moore projected a preliminary layout for the system, including the solids holding tank and the membrane bioreactor for surface discharge and its treatment equipment.

As of this time, the estimated total project cost come to $10,057,000, which includes $4,148,000 for the collection system; $2,934,000 for the wastewater treatment system; $2,833,000 for contingency and engineering costs; and $143,000 for legal and bonding costs. 

Without grant funding, the total annual cost for debt service and operations and maintenance is $465,400; with grant funding, the cost is $367,100.

For potential billing costs, Moore broke the cost into two categories of users (residential and commercial) and two components of the bill (capital debt service and operations and maintenance). 

One potential approach would be for Millerton to have a single-family residential fee limited to $600 a year or a commercial fee per equivalent dwelling unit. 

The final proposed fees must be presented in the sewer district map, plan and report for all included parcels.

Prioritizing funding among the next steps, Moore considered funding from future infrastructure bills and earmarks and from Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grants, noting Millerton submitted an application to the Water Quality Improvement Project Grant last month. 

For the district formation phase, Moore recommended amending the project report to reflect the current scope; preparing a map, plan and report that will provide the cost per parcel; and initiating the mandated State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process. 

Other action items included continuing to investigate emergency access routes and engage residents in the district formation process.

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