"The time frame for the sewer formation process would be about 75 to 80 days, which brings us close to the end of the year," Sciarabba says. "If a permissive referendum is held it could delay the process a couple of months, assuming there is a positive vote."
Sciarabba had hoped the public interest order would be approved at the last Town Board meeting, but a Map Plan Report had not been completed in time. That document is the key to getting a sewer district approved, and includes a comprehensive description of the proposed district including a list of properties included, equipment, and estimated costs. A draft of the document had been missing some information required by New York State, and is being updated by engineers to prevent legal holdups later in the process. Sciarabba says that the update is currently on schedule to be completed in time for next Wednesday's board meeting.
The Sewer Committee has held two formal public information sessions, as well as some informal sessions including a booth at the Lansing Harbor Festival. Potential sewer district residents will be sent an invitation to an open house at which people who may have felt uncomfortable speaking up in a formal meeting will have a chance to look at the proposal closely and talk one on one with Sewer Committee members and town officials. That is scheduled for Saturday morning, October 13 from 10:30am to 12:30pm.
At the last public information meeting Better Housing of Tompkins County's John Spence said that the chances of getting grant money to help residents pay to hook up to the sewer are very promising. Sciarabba said that the project is also in the running for a grant of up to $3 million for construction that could significantly lower the annual charge to district residents.
The district boundaries start at the State juvenile detention facilities on Auburn Road, and goes along Route 34B past and including the new town center land to the west as far as the Lansing Central School District campus. On the west side of the district it travels south to Myers Park and Ladoga Park. Cargill Deicing Technology has tentatively offered land where a sewage treatment plant will be located.
Sciarabba says that while developers south of the proposed district have asked to be included the committee has said no for now. He said there is no incentive for the town to expand the district unless developers agree to pay for new infrastructure. If they do, new developments lower the cost for all sewer residents. If they don't, costs stay the same or may rise.
"Right now we want to get it done or else it will never happen," he says. "That's the experience we had with the last go-around -- it got too big. Let's get the district set. Let's get the sewer project going. Down the road if you and your neighbors want to tie in you can approach the Town Board."