Montgomery rethinks new water and sewer district
The Montgomery Town Board is re-evaluating the proposed water and sewer district for the Scotts Corners area after being hit with sticker shock at their meeting last week.
According to a feasibility study done at their request by Mike Aiello Jr., the proposed district would cost approximately $19 million and entail a half dozen pump stations, upgrades and the replacement of a sewer line.
The plan encompassed Scotts Corners (the intersection of Route 17K and Route 208) including Walden Savings Bank, the Orange County Chamber of Commerce and the shopping plaza across the street.
The district was then proposed to extend east on Route 17K toward Newburgh to the existing Sewer District 2, as well as in the opposite direction including Valley Central High School and Middle School, to the border with the Village of Montgomery. The district was also to extend north on Route 208, possibly as far as Coleman Road, and include some side streets off of the two state highways.
Town Supervisor Mike Hayes said the study was done to give the town a rough place to start by determining what would be needed and how much it would cost.
“The original plan may not be feasible cost-wise for right now,” said Hayes.
Aiello explained that the proposed sewer district would need additional pump stations to transport the material south to the existing sewer treatment plant. The infrastructure between the new district and the plant would need to be upgraded to handle the increased flows, including a sewerline that has sagged and currently needs to be repaired or replaced.
“We would have to look at it sooner rather than later,” said Aiello. “It’s not meant for the use of the existing sewer district, let alone this expansion.”
Jeffrey Crist, chairman of the board for Walden Savings Bank, appealed to the board to pursue the water and sewer district, which would provide services to the bank and their sizeable property which they are looking to develop. Crist explained that having municipal services for the property would make the property more marketable, estimating the property to have the potential to bring in half a million dollars of tax revenue to the town once developed.
“Without services, it would only be a small fraction of that,” said Crist.
Aiello said there were two alternatives the town could pursue. The first was to site a new treatment plant north of the study area. Aiello cautioned however, that construction of the plant and future maintenance “could be more costly than upgrading.”
The other alternative was to shrink the district to the sections that are most in need and extend the district to the other parts later as the infrastructure is put into place.
Aiello suggested starting with Scotts Corners and properties to the west first, and extending the district later to properties east and north. This modified plan would require a pump station at Scotts Corners, fixing the sagged sewerline and upgrades to existing pump stations.
It was also mentioned that the properties on Route 17K from the school to the border with the Village of Montgomery could seek to become outside users of the village’s sewer district.
“There are a lot of things to consider,” said Aiello. “There are too many variables here to say how it will fall into place.”
Aiello said they would not know the possible cost of the scaled down plan until they came up with a design stipulating which properties might be included.
Hayes noted that businesses in addition to Walden Savings Bank have expressed interest in municipal services as it would mean they would no longer have to do all the work associated with having their own water and septic. The Health Department requires testing of the water at these properties, which Hayes estimated could cost up to $7,000 each year, depending on the property. In addition, businesses have to pump out their septic systems more frequently than the average homeowner, often multiple times a year, which is another costly expense.
“They don’t want to be in the water and sewer business if they can help it,” said Hayes.
The board asked Aiello to prepare a cost estimate for the district with just sewer services to start, and with the proposed district split into two sections. The properties would need to have sewer services first and water could be added later.
Hayes said he hopes to continue discussions on possible solutions for the proposed water and sewer district next month.
By RACHEL COLEMAN