Residents urge Hanover board to solicit an additional opinion

HANOVER – The Hanover Town Board welcomed comments once again on the proposed improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.

The town recently opened the doors of the plant to the residents of the sewer district in order for them to see first hand what needs upgrading. Supervisor Todd Johnson said 35 to 40 residents attended the open house.

The meeting was held so that residents who went to tour the plant could have their questions and concerns answered.

Nine residents attended the meeting, several of which urged the town to get at least a second engineer’s opinion on the project.

“We are putting our trust in them saying we need, we need, we need, but do we? I was on a board of directors and we always got at least two bids on everything,” resident George Meyers said.

Resident Angelo Fasso said he toured the plant and thought it was pretty clean but said something has to be done about odor control.

“I live down there and the stench is terrible,” he said.

The proposed improvements do not include an odor control system. The estimated $5.3 million project does include replacing the RBCs, installing a new dewatering press, improving the Sunset Bay pump station, installing a new bar screen and a new grit removal system, replacing the influent pumps and pipes, installing new clarifier equipment and replacing the digestor and blower(s).

At the public hearing for the project in June, residents were skeptical of the benefits compared to the costs.

It was explained the town will finance the project using a 30-year serial bond for up to $5,277,000. The annual debt service is estimated at 4 percent interest which would equate to a $282,000 yearly payment.

The town will use new anticipated sewer revenues, reserves, annual excess revenue and the amount set aside for the previous debt service once it is paid off in 2017 equating to $285,000.

Mike Hall of the Hanford Bay Association gave the board a list of questions and concerns at the meeting in June and said the board has yet to respond.

The list included concerns about not allowing expansion of the sewer district, dissolving the water and sewer committee, other engineering and expert opinions and having parts made for older equipment instead of replacement.

Johnson said the board is working on a response to the questions.

Hall also added that the town should not say the project will not increase rates.

“It’s offensive when you say the project won’t cost anything. It is deceptive because we are still paying on a loan that should have been paid off long ago. What you should say is we are not going to get the discount we should have got,” he said.

The board took no action on the project.

“It is important we do not make a rash decision on this. We will not make a decision on this until all avenues are explored,” Johnson said.