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Town Sewer Use Request Returns To City Councilors

OSWEGO, NY – The town-city sewage issue resurfaced at Monday night’s Physical Services Committee meeting.

Gay Williams, city attorney, on behalf of the Town of Oswego, requested consideration for its application for permission for two student housing developments to use the West Side Sewage Treatment facility.

Those outside the city need a permit to tie into the city’s sewer system.

The application must be made in writing to the council and contain such information as the councilors may require and shall be verified (sworn to) by the applicant, according to Williams.

In late May, Victoria Mullen, Oswego Town supervisor, sent a letter to the council seeking permission to tie into the system. The letter wasn’t verified, Williams pointed out.

“The next step should be for the council to establish what information it does need,” she told the committee. “After that, it has to be referred to the commissioner of public works and the city engineer for a report back to the council.”

Councilor Sue Sweet pointed out the council earlier this spring passed a resolution not to accept any more sewage from Oswego Town (except from single-family homes).

“I understand this is an application. But we already have a resolution. I mean, how many times are we going to be asked?” she said.

“I think we need to situate ourselves so that we are still in-kind friends based on the fact that we have adjacent borders,” Councilor Connie Cosemento noted. “They have the right to ask. Just the way we have the right to ask them.”

The town has given them a general request; the city needs to tell them they need some more specific information, Cosemento explained.

Sweet suggested rescinding the resolution not to accept more sewage from Oswego Town.

“It would seem to me that would be the path to take. Because if we have a resolution saying we’re not accepting any sewage why are we going through the motions of this?” she said.

If the town gives the city information that the city feels it can’t deal with they wouldn’t have to rescind; only if the city decides to accept more sewage, Cosemento noted.

“If they give us specific numbers that fall within something we can handle, then you might want to consider rescinding that resolution,” she said. “You don’t have to rescind something unless you have intentions of really making a change. At this point, I don’t believe this council has any intentions of making a change from what I’m hearing.”

The data the committee was talking about was something that Mullen has already shared with the council at an earlier meeting, Councilor Mike Myers said.

“We’ve already received that from Mrs. Mullen,” he said. “She already threw all that data at us. We already acted on the data she gave us. I think we answered her clearly, until the (overflow) problem is fixed.”

Mayor Randy Bateman noted there is a process that must be followed.

He suggested the councilors get the information in one package, as the city attorney described, after that the council can say yes or no.

“They filed a permit request. We can’t just say, OK we’re not going to deal with it,” he said.

“We want to show them we’re operating in good faith,” Cosemento agreed.

Councilor Bill Sharkey made a motion to table the issue until the town gives the city the figures that it needs and the council has had an opportunity to review them.

It was unanimously approved.

Supervisor Responds

“Although the town has met with members of the city council, Councilor Myers is mistaken. The city has not acted on our application. We have talked. However, action is taken by a vote of the council so that each member can go on the record,” Mullen pointed out this morning. “Also, the Town of Oswego has only made one application to the city council for sewer extension as required by the City of Oswego Ordinance concerning Sewer Extension. That was done in May of ’08. We have given all the requested information to the city; should they require additional information we will happy to provide it.”

“And, I agree with Mrs. Sweet, the council should rescind that resolution (prohibiting more sewage except from single-family homes), which in fact made changes to the City Ordinance without a public hearing,” she continued. “Sewer extensions should never have been brought into the political arena and rescinding their resolution would return sewer extensions applications back into the hands of the experts where it always had been, and it would end any questions as to motives of a few.”