Town To Bond $210k for Tank Cleaning at Scavenger Plant

In a 4-to-1 vote on Thursday night, the board approves money for state-mandated clean-up; Budget officer says interest rate will be minimal.

The Town of East Hampton will borrow $210,000 for tank cleaning at the Scavenger Waste Plant, following a 4-to-1 vote approving the bond at a meeting on Thursday night.

Councilwoman Sylvia Overy sponsored the resolution to finance the improvements at the wastewater plant, which the Department of Environmental Conservation ordered. Councilmen Peter Van Scoyoc Supervisor and Dominic Stanzione and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson supported the resolution for the one-time cleaning.

Councilwoman Theresa Quigley voted against it.

Two-thirds of the board had to approve the resolution in order for it to pass.

Wilkinson said that while he remains steadfast that he could have negotiated a deal to privatize the plant that was satisfactory to the town last winter, he voted in favor of putting the money into the plant because the cleaning simply has to get done. There was no alternative, he said — the state mandated the cleaning.

The Scavenger Waste Plant has been a divisive issue for the board since early 2012. Wilkinson hoped to privatize the plant after the first quarter in 2012, based on an unanimous vote of the board in December, before van Scoyoc and Overby took office. Negotiations ended with the potential lessee when the newly elected members of the board took office and Republican Councilman Dominick Stanzione changed his vote.

"We have a responsibility to respond to the DEC," Van Scoyoc said a meeting two weeks ago when Republican Committee secretary Carole Campolo, who had a career in municipal finance, that it would be "fiscal malfeasance" for the board to float a bond for such maintenance.

Overby has said the tanks are "full of drying septic bed sludge" that smells during the summer and drips down in the system. Blowers are therefore on continuously, running the town $8,000 to $9,000 a month in electricity. "We will be able to save at least that amount of the electric bill," she said.

Len Bernard, the town finance officer, said the bond will be stretched over five years and he estimates the town will end up paying about $45,000 a year including the interest. "I anticipate a very, very minimal interest rate," he said on Friday.

The bond, he said, was the best move under the circumstances. It takes the pressure off the tax levy cap the town needs to stay under in 2013 and in subsequent years, as well as avoids hitting tax payers with a $200,000 tax levy increase in 2013, he said.

The bond approval allows for the money to be advanced from the general fund to get the work done sooner than later, Bernard said. "We won't actually borrow the money until 2013 . . . the interest won't be due to the following year."

"The fact of the matter is because of denial of the former board's plans we're left in the position of cleaning the tanks regardless. Under the former proposal, the acquirer of the lease or sale, we would have negotiated an obligation to clean those tanks," Wilkinson said.

"This new board of Dominick Stanzione, Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, obligated tax payers to pay for something that I still believe could have been negotiated," he said.

Because there was no funding for the plant included past the first quarter of the 2012 budget, Wilkinson projected a deficit of at least $700,000 by the end of the year, according to his tenative 2013 budget, which was made public on Monday.

Funding for the Scavenger Waste Plant accounts for $731,150, or 22.1 percent, of the overall increase in the tentative $69 million budget, a $3.3 million increase over last year.

Wilkinson's plan includes to return at least $500,000 to the Refuse and Recycling Fund. His proposal funds the plant as a transfer station for the first three months of 2013, "by which time a final decision on the matter will hopefully be made by the Town Board."

Privatization is not off the table, Overby has said. She said she felt the amount bid by the only vendor to respond was far too low.

Deborah Klughers October 08, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Good news is that Sag Harbor is part of a test program that hopes to turn their raw sewage into potable water. The technology has been used by the US military for years. Maybe if it works we could use it in on a larger scale here in East Hampton. The water that comes from the treated sewage is drinkable! We could discharge it into our groundwater here in EH with no contaminants!! By the way, our plant does not, or did not “take on the demand of an entire town's waste with 20,000 septic systems” as CBT claims. Only about 2000-4,000 homes pump out every few years. Most others might pump out every 15-30 years, and some have never, ever used the facility and others never will. The plant was able to process 45,000 gallons of septage per day, yet averaged 14,000 gallons a day in 2010- much smaller than those mentioned above. I started commenting on this blog because I believe this is important, and the issues include clean drinking water- responsible wastewater management- fiduciary duties to the taxpayers & a moral responsibility to the future. CBT and other like him have some another agenda- that includes confusing the public and spreading misinformation. I’d enjoy a discussion on the issues, using facts and honest opinions- not lies. From CBT above, "If we are going to have a discussion here let's at least be factual." wow. I won’t be correcting CBT (or his other aliase) or others who spread misinformation any longer. Someone else can call them out….
Deborah Klughers October 08, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Cannot Believe This October 09, 2012 at 12:47 AM
When you are dealing with environmental elitism it is difficult to debate because elites tend to be strident, condescending and unrealistic. I am glad DK dismisses and berates everything I write because it just illustrates her elitist attitude. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Let me say the Sag Harbor facility is different than East Hampton's. Sag Harbor's facility is part of a sewer system that services about 200 users (commercial and private) - fact. The 250,000 volume is needed because everything goes down the drain and to the plant via pipe - fact. Even with a 250,000 permit the Sag facility is almost tapped out which is why they were unwilling to extend the service to the library extension. 200 users maxing out a 250,000 GPD system? Why, because it is different than East Hampton - fact. In East Hampton everything that comes in theoretically is already "processed" in an individual septic systems - fact. Liquid leaches at point - fact. The East Hampton plant WAS designed and built to service the entire Town -fact - ask the powers that be at the time. The facility was built to handle everything pumped from the septic systems in town which is why every lot (except underwater lots) in town are in the district - fact. When all haulers were bringing their loads to East Hampton there were lines outside the facility - fact - ask the people who worked there. I did not bring up other facilities. My argument is about East Hampton and its unique qualities.
Deborah Klughers October 09, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Finally CBT has provided some facts.And yes,I’ve dismissed every statement inaccurately attributed to me.FACT. Please read the 1st sentence of my 1st post, “we should manage our own wastewater.” Isn’t that the issue, managing OUR wastewater? Is processing (more) waste to allow a business to profit the issue (goal)? Or, since CBT dismisses the notion of bringing in outside waste for profit, could we sell or lease it to someone who will process ONLY EH waste? Or, is CBT privy to some impending mandate that will force people to use the facility? Even though it was built for all the community- we are not all using the facility. The other issue is water. Would you agree it is important to protect our drinking water? To do everything we can to defend it from harm? Would you agree that the Town should get the best deal, not the only deal offered, when selling or leasing a facility that is so important to this community & the future of the community? And yes CBT, you did bring up other ‘facilities' at 8:29 pm October 6, 2012, but I am not sure why. People can read you know. FYI: Septage waste is not “theoretically processed” @ our homes. It is highly concentrated in most cases & full of liquid in others. It depends, among other things, on the state of the system being pumped. Think about the failed system at the trailer park; the waste was full of water. Whereas a homeowner who does routine pumping, the septage will be mostly 'sludge' & is extremely concentrated.
Cannot Believe This October 10, 2012 at 02:06 AM
So much for not responding to my comments. A dilettante in every way possible.


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