Tensions were evident between the Town and Village of Lansing when the Town Sewer Committee met this Wednesday. The conflict is over which route a trunk line will take to bring the Town's waste through the Village to the Cayuga Heights treatment plant on Route 34 near the Route 13 ramp. Of the three proposed routes, the Town favors a gravity feed line along the old Ithaca Auburn Railroad bed that is largely owned by private homeowners now, because they ave determined it is considerably less expensive than the other routes. The Village favors Route 34, because it will cause the least disruption to Village residents.

Several weeks ago the town extended its October deadline to December to allow the Village time to conduct its own engineering survey to support the choice of the route they favor for the trunk line. The Village plans a public informational meeting November 7 before making its route recommendation. Officials are sending letters to homeowners who may be affected by any of the three routes, so they can get feedback on the issue before deciding on their recommendation.

While the Town does not have to go along with the Village's recommendation, officials on both sides are hoping they can come to an amicable agreement.

The Town Sewer Committee isn't sitting still while they wait. The committee voted on a formula that will determine how much property owners in the district will pay. The formula is a complicated compilation that defines Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs) that are assigned to properties. Each EDU will be assigned a dollar amount. For example, if one EDU equals a $100 fee and your property is calculated at 3 EDUs your fee would be $300 (these numbers are hypothetical. Until the routes are chosen and the project is defined the total cost can not be determined).

The committee voted on three separate categories for determining EDUs for residences, vacant lots and industrial properties. Each category uses a different calculation that the committee felt was fair. Now that the method of determining EDUs for property has been agreed upon, it is possible to determine the total number of EDUs within the proposed district. The total cost for the project, less any alternate funding the Town can find, will be divided equally between the EDUs and fees will be charged accordingly.

If your head wants to explode after the last two paragraphs, it is understandable, because the EDU calculations are complicated. The committee had to weigh the best combination of calculations from the three categories to come up with a fair and balanced overall plan.

Meanwhile a financial/funding sub-committee is working on alternate funding.  Andrew Sciarabba reported the group lining up million of dollars of alternate funding to reduce resident's fees. They are approaching other governments from local to Federal, as well as private donors to help reduce the cost of the system for residents.

Once the project is defined it will still come down to the bottom line. "It will still come down to is it economically feasible when the whole plan is in place," says committee Chairman Bud Shattuck. The committee is working now to create the most attractive and cost effective package they can. If they succeed it will be approved by the voters so that construction can begin.