Sanitary Sewer Project Steering Committee Selects Cleveland, Sorrell as Group Leaders

Roger Cleveland and Carson Sorrell were unanimously renamed to their committee leadership positions for another year by the members of the 15-community Steering Committee for the Oneida County Sanitary Sewer Abatement Project.

Steve Devan, Oneida County Sewer District Commissioner, reported that the steering committee members made selections for the 2010 term at the group’s January 28 meeting. They chose Cleveland, designated representative from the Town of New Hartford, for another term as chairman; and Sorrell, a community delegate from the Town of Marcy, as vice chair. The selections were unanimous for both positions, Devan said.
The steering committee is comprised of 32 members who are elected officials and appointed community delegates from the 15 municipalities represented in the district, plus Oneida County. The District includes the towns of Deerfield, Frankfort, Marcy, New Hartford, Paris, Schuyler, and Whitestown; and the villages of Clayville, Holland Patent, New Hartford, New York Mills, Oriskany, Whitesboro; and Yorkville; plus the City of Utica.
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. congratulated Cleveland and Sorrell for their service in 2009, and commended them for their work guiding the committee through what he termed “a critical year of information-gathering and decision-making for the project.” Picente also praised the elected officials and community delegates who serve on the steering committee representing their home municipalities, saying that the significant time and effort devoted to the project “has been a model of collaboration” that will serve the county and the communities well into the future.                                     
Commissioner Devan noted that among priorities for 2010 are formal development of an institutional structure to oversee initiatives and activities of the 15-community district; addressing water inflow and infiltration issues at private homes and businesses; further assessment of rate structures; and aggressively pursuing funding for project work.  
Devan said that among the District’s major achievements for 2009 included an extensive sanitary sewer televising and smoke testing program in targeted areas to more precisely gauge the condition of sewers and the degree of repairs needed. Additional progress was made when the municipal boards of the nine communities tributary to the Sauquoit Creek Pump Station all adopted board resolutions agreeing to fund a dedicated sewer repair fund, Devan said. The nine municipalities “joined together in a cohesive effort that will produce major cost efficiencies for their sewer repairs,” he noted.

The sewer repair fund will be used to pay back monies that will be borrowed to construct the sewer system repairs necessary to mitigate sewer overflows into the Mohawk River. Each municipality’s collection of the fee is creating a debt service fund. Having a debt service fund provides financial leverage that allows the District to be able to borrow as much as $25 million in 2010, according to Devan. The District is considering borrowing upwards of $25 million in 2010 to begin sewer system repairs. The initial phase of repair work is considered a significant step in meeting conditions of the New York State DEC consent order imposed in 2007, Devan said.