The Putnam Examiner

County to Explore Sewer District in Brewster, Mahopac

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With the hopes of putting sewer in the Route 6 corridor in Mahopac and in the Village of Brewster, the Putnam County Legislature’s physical services committee allotted $160,000 for studies at last Wednesday’s committee meeting in which more details were revealed about the proposals.

Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker touted the sewer plans as a way to boost business development in the county.

One of the sewer districts would tie into the Danbury, Ct. district, go across the stateline and into the Village of Brewster’s sewer, Walker said. Working with the county planning department, a consolidated funding application grant for $2.4 million would be applied for with the overall project costing $12 million. Putnam County could bond the project and manage it without burdening the town, Walker said.

The physical services committee signed off on $75,000 so the county could hire an engineering firm and law firm to explore setting up the Stateline district.

The city of Danbury, Walker said, has excess capacity in its sewer treatment plant and Danbury officials believe that its sewer usage will only decrease going forward. An opt-out provision would be included so property owners that have septic can decline to be part of the district, he said.

There is no formal agreement with Danbury yet because more work needs to be done, Walker said.

The other sewer district would be in Mahopac from Heritage Hills and go up Route 6 and possibly tie into a Department of Environmental Protection plant in town on Buckshollow Road. The cost would be $8 million and the county is applying for a $1.6 million grant. Carmel would be in charge of implementing the sewer line, Walker said.

Overall, the physical services committee allocated $75,000 for studies in Mahopac. There are several pieces of properties underused because they don’t have a sewer line to support commercial development, Walker said. The properties that tie into the sewer district would pay into the capital costs, Walker said.

A sewage plant could also be built in Lake Carmel and extend down Route 311, possibly reaching Patterson near Camp Herrlich, but that proposal is farther away, Walker said. Another $10,000 was put forward by the committee last week to get the ball rolling on that.

Legislators at the meeting seemed in support of the sewer exploration.

Legislature Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino said with decreasing population, the only way the county will be able to produce revenue is from economic development. Legislator Paul Jonke said property owners that would be in the new sewer district in Brewster are in support of it.

“This is an opportunity we can’t let pass by,” Jonke said.

Southeast Councilwoman Lynne Eckardt questioned why the development at the Stateline site hasn’t been built yet and if a sewer district would actually draw the developer to take action on the vacant land that is shovel ready. She said the county should consider where the retail market is headed before decisions are made that affect taxpayers.

The town would like to know more about the project, Eckardt said, with better communication. But Jonke, who represents part of Southeast, said the notion there is a communication breakdown between the town and county “outright false.”

Jonke said communication is a two- way street and he speaks with Southeast Supervisor Tony Hay almost daily.

Hay, when reached, said Jonke has spoken with him about the sewer project three times since Jonke was placed on the task force in November. Hay added there hasn’t been much information to relay so far.

Southeast resident Ann Fanizzi pointed out a sewer plant in Carmel has only provided residential development, rather than commercial. She argued other major developments approved or constructed haven’t needed sewer.

Mahopac resident Robert Buckley supported the sewer districts and noted too many Putnam residents go to Connecticut and Dutchess County for shopping. He called the location in Southeast for the sewer “ideal.”

“I think they’re great opportunities for this county,” Buckley said of the two proposed sewer districts.

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