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Friday, January 4, 2013

Who is representing the sewer ratepayers???

That was one of the questions Mr. Frank Montecalvo asked Wednesday evening during the meeting that was open to the public and hosted by Utica Common Councilman James Zecca, D-at-large and Oneida County Legislator Harmony Speciale in the Utica Common Council Chambers.

Mr. Frank Montecalvo was asked to discuss the almost $12 million "North Utica Parallel Interceptor" project and $35 million upgrades to the Oneida County Water Treatment Plant that ONLY the sewer users may end up paying for if all goes as planned.

Mr. Montecalvo stressed that he feels the expansion of the North Utica Interceptor should not be the responsibility of the current sewer district users because it is being built to accommodate new rather than existing users. This should be the responsibility of the industrial development agency (general taxpayers of Oneida County) rather than the district's users who should only be paying for what is needed to provide their service.

Further Mr. Montecalvo pointed out that the expansion of the Water Treatment Plant, while it may benefit Utica ratepayers, it should not be approved without a QUANTIFICATION of its costs to Utica residents vs the benefits received in return. According to Mr. Montecalvo:
"At this point, based on the Devan interview last week, it is unknown what additional remediation Utica will be required to perform to its CSO's and I&I issues after the plant expansion. That would require a thorough study of Utica, similar to the one performed by the Distrcit (with >1/2 of the cost already paid by Utica users) for the municipalities in the Sauquoit creek basin. Without a similar study, paid for by *all* district users like the Sauquoit Creek basin study, it is reasonable to assume that expansion of the Water Treatment Plant is for the Nanocenter, and proposed NEW suburban developments (like the one for Marcy referenced in the 5/24/11 Steering Committee minutes). Given population stagnation there should be little need to expand the treatment plant capacity. And if new users cause a need, that should be the responsibility of the new developers and not the current rate-payer."
The proposed $35 million plant expansion is scheduled to be voted on during a meeting of the county legislators on Jan. 9.

Both projects will require a public hearing. We encourage everyone who pays for sewers in Oneida County to listen to Mr. Montecalvo and attend the public hearings that are probably going to be held sometime in February. These projects, if they proceed, will add additional taxes to everyone's sewer bills with very little, if any, benefit to the current users of the sewer system.

This is outrageous...Who IS representing the sewer ratepayers???

We videotaped Mr. Montecalvo's presentation.

Our friend Strikeslip has also written a blog with information and copies of documents, Sewer District Sleight of Hand!

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