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Some Champion residents opposed to sewer district expansion

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WEST CARTHAGE — Cole Road resident Gwyn Monnat presented the Champion Town Council at Tuesday’s meeting with a petition signed by about 40 residents objecting to the expansion of the Sewer District 2.

“It’s big money and a big project,” Mr. Monnat said. “It doesn’t seem to us as a needed project.”

For about three years, the town has been planning to improve the sewer district, which serves the area around Carthage Central High School on Route 26.

Town Supervisor Terry L. Buckley said there had been two public hearings on the project at which no one spoke against the expansion.

With $500,000 in funding secured through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a no-interest, 30-year loan through the state Environmental Facilities Corp., the $2.35 million project has begun.

The project will mean a cost of $684 per equivalent dwelling unit per year, which includes $300 toward the loan and $384 for usage and operations and maintenance costs.

Mr. Buckley said the town already has $350,000 into the project, which was needed to replace a 50-year-old transmission pipe from Cole Road to the treatment plant.

He said at Tuesday’s meeting that some of the pipeline was mismatched, with some piping 10 inches in diameter and others 8 inches.

“It’s failing, and failing fast,” he said.

The project will make improvements to the sewer system, which serves the high school, Meadowbrook Assisted Living Facility, Countryside Veterinary Clinic and Cole Road residents. It also will connect newly constructed homes on Cole Road as well as Caskinette’s Lofink Ford and homes on Farney Pit Road.

Mr. Buckley said as more users are added to the sewer system, the equivalent dwelling unit rate will decrease, and the larger entities have multiple EDUs while homeowners have only one. He also noted the sewer district fees go into a separate fund from town funds and are used only to run the district.

In addition, the town is awaiting approval of $500,000 from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council grant.

“I hope this is not going to hit my assessment,” Mr. Monnat said.

Town assessor William M. Vargulick said the assessment cannot be raised for the improvement to property due to municipal sewer.

“It’s a lot of money on top of what we pay now,” Mark Grau said. “My septic tank works fine. $700 is a lot of money.”

Brian Carr said he would rather see a natural-gas line come to the area than move forward with a sewer project which “everybody disagrees with.”

Mr. Buckley said 18 easements already have been signed by area residents.

The supervisor told the residents that since they are in the sewer district, they would have to help fund it, and by signing the easement to hook into the system, the connection would be done as part of the project.

“If you don’t hook up now and you want to hook up later, it will cost you thousands,” Mr. Buckley said.

He said because of the amount of bedrock in the area, there was a greater chance for septic systems to fail and contaminate wells, citing several cases.

“I’m not trying to force anything on you,” Mr. Buckley said.

He offered to set up additional times for residents to come in to sign easements and review maps of how the project will connect residences to the system.

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