Too Many Unanswered Question to Pursue New Somers Sewer District

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Shame on our Somers Town Board. It was abundantly clear that they spent the last five months planning to push through the sewer district in Shenorock and Lake Lincolndale during a pandemic.

On Aug. 20, they held a public hearing without notifying us. To watch, visit www.SomersSewers.com/meetings, an informational website created by a coalition of organized residents). This is the meeting you want to watch!

There has been a lack of proper notification; all public hearings require publication in a paper at least 72 hours prior to the hearing. They did not do this. They hid behind the governor’s mandate limiting public gatherings to 50 people. (We found out this was not true, as an essential meeting there was no mandate as long as there was enough open space to socially distance.) They turned taxpayers away when the 50-person limit was reached. Why hold the meeting?

They limited public comment and questions. There has never been a time limit at public hearings. Our questions were not answered at the end of the public comment and we had no opportunity to have a dialogue. Some of the questions asked were: If we refuse to give them permission for an easement what happens? Will they claim eminent domain on our property? Why isn’t this an optional hookup since everyone won’t benefit because a lot of people have spent the money to repair their septic systems? Why aren’t they considering an area with the homes just around the lake like they wanted to do in 2015? It should be done one phase at a time, not all lumped together.

The map, plan and report, as currently worded, fails to guarantee that the town will not continue on with this project without funding. They say they won’t, and who believes that? Our costs can double very easily and they do not need to go back to the comptroller’s office for approval once the district is created.

They hired a PR firm with our money to sell a project and made poster boards that were inaccurate and got their information from the engineer who can’t seem to get a map, plan and report correct.

Residents are responsible for eight things, not three like they were originally told. The new sewer tax will be on your property tax bill, so it is a new tax. They cannot guarantee no new assessments will be done. Grinder pumps will need to be installed on 25 percent of properties. If you lose electricity, they say they would bring a generator to your house to pump out your holding tank. This was laughable. 

The lack of collaboration and transparency by the board is disheartening. None of the board members live in these neighborhoods and their taxes aren’t getting raised.

We encourage everyone to follow the money. The engineer, who is a Somers resident and has family in our lake community, is going to benefit by pushing this project because he plans on making $9 million on this $62 million project.

Linda Luciano

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