EDITOR’S NOTE: A clarified Map, Plan and Report has been developed that will address many of the issues stated below and is expected to be presented at the Town Board’s Nov. 7 meeting.
Letter of Response to Supervisor Rick Morrissey’s Letter from Linda Luciano of Lake Shenorock and Lisa Healy of Lake Lincolndale:
We would like to address the inaccurate representation by Supervisor Morrissey and the Town Board regarding our position regarding the development of Somers Sewer District #2.
We would like to clarify our position as the future financial impact is only one issue. That issue is borne from a Map, Plan and Report that is riddled with errors.
Some key errors are:
• Table 9 does not show Phase 1 residents being responsible for any annualized capital costs during Phase 2A and 2B. There is no language throughout the document indicating they are responsible for any future payments. The Town Board and engineer keep promising that Phase 1 is going to be responsible for capital financing costs, despite the fact that there is no provision for it
• Parcel count is incorrect – some homes missing who are in the proposed district. They will be responsible for the cost of their sewer hook-up and all back sewer payments and financing costs.
• Some individual costs are missing for residents under the Parcel Listing
• Some of the math in the Tables is incorrect
When the Town Board was made aware of the errors they said, “that they didn’t feel that they were fatal flaws and didn’t need to be corrected and resent to the Comptroller’s office”. We asked the Town Board, “what is the definition of a fatal flaw?”. They were unable to provide an answer. When we spoke to the NYS Comptroller’s office they told us there is no such thing. The Comptroller’s office will look at the impact on the community (the need for the district) and the cost of the project. The Town Board didn’t do their due diligence when developing the plan without an Impact Study and Environmental Report.
While we appreciate the historical perspective, what is critical is looking at today and the future.
Today Questions and Concerns:
• The Board, the Town attorney, and the contracted Engineer are unable to answer our questions. Concern: the Town Board does not seem to understand the contents of the Map, Plan and Report
• Table 9 shows “possible” funding of $37.5MM from grants. All our costs have been calculated on these “possible” funds. Question: What happens if these funds are not secured, will our costs double or triple?
• While the plan has a built-in cushion of 25% this was before they added in additional costs like; including hooking up each home to the sewer main and including grinder pumps. Question: What is the new proposed budget costs per home?
• Maps do not reflect homes that are within the boundary lines. Concern: Seems somewhat random
o Missing R10 parcels
o Including some R40 parcels and not others
• There was no Impact Study or Environmental Review done. Concern: These communities are comprised primarily of working class and elderly residents - creation of this district will add significant costs that may force many out of their homes.
• A majority of these communities have not been reassessed in over 46 years. Some have even re-built or added major additions and are at their original assessments. Question: How can they setup the costs of a proposed sewer district on bad home assessment values?
• The calculation for each resident’s responsibility to pay for the sewer district is based on assessed value of their homes. Concern: It seems like an inequitable calculation.
• What is actually impacting the health of the lakes? Concern: With no Environmental Study the plan is not based on facts
• The integrity and landscape of these communities will be changed forever – No Impact Study done
o There is no guarantee that home values will increase but if they do then so do the taxes
o While the Town Board keeps stating that the zoning will not change with sewers the undeveloped lots will now be buildable and existing homes will be able to be expanded upon without the limits of septic set-backs. This will allow the Town to collect more taxes
o The Town keeps saying that these neighborhoods are densely populated. With sewers there is the opportunity to increase the house count to over 300 in both neighborhoods combined
• No open spaces
• Increased stormwater runoff from additional driveways and lawns
Some additional items to consider:
• The PR/Marketing tactics will not work. The Supervisor broke down the cost by day. This used all the time to hide and justify the high cost of what is being sold. The current costs are based on hypothetical numbers and potential grants of $37.5MM.
Scare tactics will not work:
o Supervisor Morrissey stated that Lake Linolndale’s lake is facing the same fate as Lake Shenorock . Each neighborhood is unique unto themselves. This seems to be an extreme prediction not based in fact. (No Environmental Study)
o Use it or lose it. The true value of the $10MM is being wasted under this current plan. It covers a very small portion of the complete project. Why doesn’t/didn’t the Town Board research alternative solutions that are less expensive? We did our research and they do exist. This money can be used for the “Rehabilitation or replacement of septic systems that are failing or likely to fail in certain areas” as stated on the East of Hudson Water Quality Fund page.
To those who have said that our group has spread propaganda and disinformation we would like you to know that we have read the full Map, Plan and Report and based our information on facts. Have you done the same?
We urge every voter to read the full Map, Plan and Report and watch the Town Board meetings to gain greater details around the Plan.
Supervisor Morrissey closed his letter saying that he would like to work with those who are opposed to the sewers and his door is always open. If this were true the Map, Plan and Report would not have been submitted to the NYS Comptroller in a rushed fashion with errors
If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact us at info@SomersSewers.com.