Nelsonville Continues to Look at Sewers

Mayor updates Cold Spring board on proposal

By Michael Turton

The Village of Nelsonville is getting serious about adding sewers that would serve most of its 700 residents.

Addressing the Cold Spring Village Board at its Oct. 23 meeting, Nelsonville Mayor Bill O’Neill was careful to point out that his village is in “the early stages” of exploring the possibility but left little doubt that he supports the project. He said Nelsonville’s economic development needs “are impeded by the lack of a sewer system,” and that the reliance on septic systems decreases property values.

O’Neill was in Cold Spring because, if the project moves forward, Nelsonville sewers would connect with the existing Cold Spring system.

Nelsonville Mayor Bill O’Neill at the Oct. 23 Cold Spring meeting (Photo by M. Turton)

The mayor said a study in 1969 estimated the cost of installing sewers in Nelsonville would be about $800,000, or about $5.6 million in today’s dollars. O’Neill said that a review of that plan by an engineering firm put the present-day cost at about $7 million. Such a system would serve the core of Nelsonville; homes on the outer edges of the village would continue to use septic systems.

O’Neill said a detailed engineering analysis is needed, including confirmation that the Cold Spring sewer system has the capacity to handle Nelsonville’s waste. Two engineering firms are being interviewed.

The timing may be right for funding, according to O’Neill, who pointed to a recent $18 million sewer project in Hyde Park that was largely paid for by state and federal grants. He added that if improvements are needed in the Cold Spring system, the municipalities could consider a joint application for funding.

“I’m a realist,” O’Neill said, acknowledging the potential for backlash from Nelsonville residents who prefer their septic systems. But, he said, the village needs to explore the possibilities. He added that the Nelsonville Village Board is supportive of the project and hinted at the possibility of a public referendum.

In other business…

  • Lauren Drummond, who is organizing a wine and food festival proposed for Mayor’s Park on Aug. 10 and 11, told trustees the event could draw more than 1,000 people. Drummond said local restaurants would be invited to participate at discounted rates if they offer cooking demonstrations. The trustees and Ruthanne Cullinan Barr, chair of the Recreation Commission, agreed to pencil in the dates, subject to Drummond completing a newly revised application for park rentals. One issue to be resolved is the role of local police and security companies.
  • At the same time, the board declined a request by John Sherer, the organizer of Oktoberfest held at Mayor’s Park, to reduce the fee charged for the services of the Cold Spring police. The village provided two officers at a rate of $38 per hour and a total cost of $1,140.
  • Deputy Mayor Marie Early was authorized to sign an agreement with Wheelabrator, the Peekskill facility that processes Cold Spring’s trash. The three-year contract will see costs rise from $84.50 per ton to $89.50 by 2020. Last month, the village shipped 46.3 tons to the firm, which incinerates it to produce electricity.
  • The village will soon place ads to find a new superintendent of water and waste water to succeed Greg Phillips, who plans to retire next summer.
  • Winter parking rules will take effect Thursday, Nov. 15, and continue through April 15. On-street regulations for the dead-end portion of Marion Avenue south of Benedict Road will be suspended to facilitate snow removal.

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