Village has eye towards moving treatment plant
WATKINS GLEN—Trustees discussed the future of the waste water treatment plant and bid farewell to trustee Wayne Weber at the regular meeting of the Watkins Glen board of trustees held on Monday, March 19. Weber has served two terms on the board and will not seek reelection. Mayor Mark Swinnerton took a moment to recognize Weber’s service to the community. “We appreciate everything you’ve done,” said Swinnerton, adding that Weber has been “an integral part of the board.”
Trustee Scott Gibson provided a status update as to the village’s long term plans for the waste water treatment plan in conjunction with the sewer rate study. As for the study, which is meant to aid in reaching a sewer agreement with the town of Reading, before the study is completed, “there are some loose ends to tie up,” said Gibson. He explained that there are some accounting issues that are being resolved and that they are putting together figures about how each entity operates. The short term goal, said Gibson, is to ultimately come up with “a sewer agreement with the town of Reading and a rate structure that everyone can agree with.” Overall the study is nearing completion and the Mayor said he hoped to have an agreement soon.
The agreement contemplated with Reading may be the first in a series of sewer agreements with local municipalities. Gibson said that for the 10-year plan, the village is looking at a jointly owned plant. “If we want to move [the sewer plant] off of the lakefront, we can’t do it alone,” said Gibson. He added that bringing surrounding municipalities into the project could open up potential grant opportunities. “Grant money is only available for joint type ventures,” said Gibson, “that’s where I would like to head toward.” Trustee Paul Clifford reminded the board that inside 10 years, the sewer plant may need a major upgrade to stay compliant, if they decide not to build a new facility. “The question is do we want to invest in a large scale capital improvement,” said Gibson. He added that the rate agreement will be a “step in the right direction,” and Clifford said that the municipalities he has spoken with seem “disposed towards cooperation.”
In other business:
• The board voted to approve Joseph Doane’s request to operate “Joe’s Hots” in Lafayette Park this summer for $250 for the season. Parks manager Michelle Hyde said that in addition to selling hot dogs, Doane also picks up litter, gives directions and “is also sort of an ambassador for the park.” The board approved this year’s request with the intention of reevaluating the vendor approval process for future seasons.
• Weber asked what percentage of water meters on village buildings have been switched over to “autoreaders.” He said that reason he was wondering, was that the new meters sometimes calculate different usage than the old meters, for the same amount of water used. When asked if he thought there were some accuracy issues, he said, “yes.” Effectively what happens, explained Weber, is that half of the village pays one “rate,” and those with autoreaders pay the new “rate.” Rhonda Slater said that there are autoreaders in stock and that the process to install them is ongoing. She said the village was trying to replace the oldest meters first and that the entire village was being done in sections. Weber asked that the process be completed and that the village purchase all of the autoreaders that will be required. Swinnerton said the purchase of additional autoreaders was something that could be included in the upcoming village budget discussions.
• Mayor Swinnerton announced that each department would be holding budget workshops in the next few weeks in anticipation of village budget preparation. Most of the workshops begin at 6 a.m. and will occur during the week. Residents can contact the village offices for times and locations if they are interested attending the budget workshops.
The next village board meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in the board room.