Sewer Connection Debate Dominates Committee Meeting

Richard Kaulfuss, Oswego Town supervisor, makes a point at Monday's committee meeting.

Richard Kaulfuss, Oswego Town supervisor, makes a point at Monday's committee meeting.

OSWEGO, NY – A tentative agreement between the city and town of Oswego regarding connecting the Ontario Heights Sewer District into the Oswego City sewer system was heavily debated at Monday night’s Administrative Services Committee.

However, after nearly two hours of talk, the issue remains unresolved. The committee took no action.

Richard Kaulfuss, Oswego Town supervisor, makes a point at Monday's committee meeting.
Richard Kaulfuss, Oswego Town supervisor, makes a point at Monday’s committee meeting.

The district is home to a planned student housing facility.

Greg Furlong, an Oswego landlord, said the city should take care of the city.

“The job of the city is to grow the city,” he told the committee. “Let’s come up with a plan to grow the city. Why are we worried about what the town’s going to do? Why are we looking to help the town? It makes no sense to me.”

Oswego would lose money if more college kids lived outside the city, he said.

Richard Kaulfuss, Oswego Town supervisor, said he appreciates the good working relationship the town has had with the city over the years.

The town is looking to get more development to help stave off a large tax increase, he explained, adding that the sewer connection would benefit that cause.

“To us, this just isn’t just about Lakeside Commons. It’s about the city trying to tell the town that we can’t develop,” he said.

If the city of Oswego is telling the town it can’t grow, “then we have to start looking elsewhere,” he continued. “This affects more than just one project; a project that may or may not come to be.”

Council President Shawn Walker wondered if the town would assist the city in paying on the consent decree. The town will contribute.

Kevin Caraccioli, city attorney, advised the councilors to be very deliberate in whatever they decide to do.

“How do we approach the letting of our sewer services to others? Virtually all of your answers would be found in the city code,” he pointed out.

He encouraged the councilors to read the sections dealing with the city’s sewer system.

“I think it’s important that you read it and understand what it says,” he said.

“The sewer code discusses capacity. It doesn’t distinguish between the types of users, it doesn’t distinguish between apartment complexes and single-family homes,” he said.

The contract allows for 45,000 gallons of additional capacity. The city could handle that, Caraccioli said.

He also pointed out that under the new deal, the town would pay more to the city. Since the contract has expired, the town is paying the old rate. Therefore, the city is losing money, he pointed out.

“We only all benefit the more we reach out and help everyone else,” he said. “This is an important matter, clearly I recognize that,” he said. “I also recognize that we have a real opportunity to become a major regional player. We all wish that maybe some day we’ll get there. Well, today is that day. We’re here. We have decisions to make, whether we grow as a region or we stay put as a community. Doing anything other than looking broadly just kicks the can down the road. What I want to do, what I hope you want to do, what I think the majority of people in this community want to do is crush that can once and for all.”


  1. C3P0- Premier really doesn’t pay property taxes. They are exempt for a decade courtesy of the Inner Development Agency. The were allowed to build 70+ beds and ask a considerable amount. How is this fair to all other landlords? Boohoo

  2. Maybe Mr. Furlong could explain how the city will lose money?
    Students will still shop in Oswego city.
    Students will still drink in Oswego city.
    Furlong’s pocketbook could the the only one losing money and he doesn’t like that.

  3. How can Kevin Caraccioli represent both the city as it’s attorney and Oswego Town as it’s attorney in this matter. This doesn’t appear appropriate and where is his interest .

    How does Minetto have a waste water treatment facility but Oswego Town Doesn’t.

  4. I thought we were trying to preserve green space in the city and town of Oswego?
    This seems like someone’s pockets in city government are the ones turning green

  5. I just have one question. How can Kevin Caraccioli be the City attorney, Town of Oswego attorney, Town of Scriba attorney and not have any conflict of interests? What would happen if the town of Oswego was going to sue the City of Oswego for the sewer hook up? Not sure how he can be all 3 attorneys. Or again an I missing something here.

  6. Perhaps the public is uninformed on several issues. Let’s be clear that the sewage service used by the Town of Oswego is not and has never been given freely. Water is supplied to the Town of Oswego by OCWA. Ontario Heights residents have been paying both a sewer usage and connection fee for years now, and in fact paying much more than city residents. This year we paid a 95.00 connection fee along with an $11.00/1000 gal of usage fee, and an additional fee of several hundred dollars for “maintenance”. In addition, the Ontario Heights residents were solely paying off the bond act that put in the state mandated sewer system. Let’s be clear that the bond was not paid by the town or distributed among all its tax payers, but that the burden of the payment fell only on the residents of Ontario Heights (approximately 75 homes).
    That said, the proposed apartment complex will be adding the sewage from 320 people into a system that was paid for and maintained by Ontario Heights homeowners. While the developer claims they will replace a pump station that needs repairs, they will still be adding to the wear and tear on that station. The sewer lines that the developer plans to run will not be accessible to any other residents of the Town of Oswego.
    Many residents in the Town have spoken out against this development at the planning board meetings. The sewer is just one issue. Others include increased traffic on St Rt 104 and the fact that this residence will have no in house security, which leaves the sheriff in Fulton to respond to any incidences that occur. The 2 property managers, and maintenance staff will only be there during the day Monday through Friday, and “student helpers” are no substitute for trained security professionals. The developers gave no indication that they would be using local companies in the building process.
    The town leaders looking to increase the tax base are wearing blinders. Not only could there be additional costs of police and fire services, but Newman Group made it very clear that they will apply for a pilot. That means all those tax dollars the town and city leaders think they will be getting don’t exist. This developer was successful in getting pilot status for their housing in Oneonta. I encourage you all to google search how this development has affected both the quality of life and businesses in that town. This development will not benefit the Town nor its residents. The City of Oswego would do better to look elsewhere than selling an already troubled sewer system to increase their revenues.

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