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Dundee sewer district created $50K deficit

DUNDEE—During the Sept. 8 meeting of the Dundee village board, residents brought concerns about the sewer rates to the board.
Increases in quarterly sewer and water bills led village resident Lillian Horton to speak about the increase in charges to the village. After expressing her concern about the increase, she said, “I realize the problem is there, but there was a lack of the village to prepare over the years.”
Mayor Frederick Cratsley Jr. said, “The problem is sewer, not water. The sewer was in the hole for $50,000 and the money was borrowed from the General Fund. This has to be paid back. We’re in a difficult predicament. You can’t get grant money to pay back the debt.” Cratsley went on to say at budget time the village board had to estimate what would be used and that resulted in a huge change in the charge.
Resident Sally Leonard asked if there was an alternative. Cratsley said the minimum was changed from 7,000 gallons to 4,000 gallons, stating, “We’re trying to position the village to improve. We have two grants for the wastewater plant but were turned down for work on the lines.” Leonard asked why something was not planned many years ago and trustee Warren Smith commented, “We probably should have raised rates a little, but did last year when we realized the problem. Rates were increased from $5.75 per 1,000 gallons to $9.15 per 1,000 gallons with a basic charge of $36.60 for zero to 4,000 gallons.
Issues related to the village’s sewer system have resulted in two successful grant applications for work at the wastewater treatment plant, but no funds have been available for work on village sewer lines, some which are more than 70 years old.
Board members also heard an update on the housing survey from Keuka Housing Council Director Kathy Disbrow. She said 208 properties have not been surveyed as yet. Of the hundreds approached just 12 refused to participate. Disbrow outlined a possible way to finish the survey suggesting volunteers might be recruited to assist in completing it. The project is important because more surveys must be completed if the village wants to apply for a grant for their sewer system. Trustee Judy Duquette asked if the survey could be done by phone. It can, however Disbrow does not have names or telephone numbers, only addresses of properties that have not been surveyed.
In other business: The board approved the application of Jamie Taras to join the department. Taras will serve as an EMS.
• Wastewater treatment plant operator Howard Sautter reported the covers for the tanks at the site are expected this week. He thanked the towns of Starkey, Milo, Barrington and Torrey  who have assisted with work at the plant. Cratsley said, “It’s really nice working with other townships.”
• Streets Superintendent Andy Howell reported he has quotes on radio systems. The issue has been discussed recently after Howell reported his concerns about communication. After additional discussion the board voted to table a decision on the matter until the next meeting to allow them time to study a cost spread sheet prepared by village Clerk Christine Sutherland.
• Community wellness project coordinator Lauren Snyder reported the smoking cessation classes may be offered if enough people sign up. Rushville Clinic outreach will offer parenting classes in October, funded by Yates County Community Services department. ProAction of Yates and Steuben Counties will bring the Food Sense program to Dundee.  Snyder said this program provides $40 worth of food for $15.50.
The next meeting of the Dundee village board will be at 5 p.m. Sept. 22 in the village hall on Union Street.  

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