Rotterdam residents: Sewers not a priority

On a night when the topic at hand was the possibility of a sewer district extension to Masullo Estates in Rotterdam, more than two dozen residents made it clear they needed the town to take action to solve their drainage problem as soon as possible, regardless of whether or not the sewer project moves forward.

But, an engineer hired by the town said it will take months before drainage work can begin in development, where a notoriously high water table has flooded basements and led to deteriorating roads for the past 20 years.

Work could begin six months from today, said Brett Steenburgh, a civil engineer.

Steenburgh said that design work was finished on the drainage plan, but that it would take time to complete the bidding process and find the appropriate funding. The engineer estimated work could begin in the fall, coming to completion in the spring of 2009.

Steenburgh gave a presentation to residents of the 90-home Masullo Estates during a public hearing at a the town board meeting on Wednesday, April 23, regarding a proposed sewer district extension for the neighborhood.

Most of the residents that spoke at the public hearing agreed that a sewer line extension would only slightly alleviate the neighborhood's drainage problems.

"We're not concerned about sewers at this time," said Tony Tabelli, who has lived on West Lucille Lane for 30 years. "We want to get our cellars dry."

Tabelli urged the board to kill the sewer project at the meeting.

"You're beating a dead horse," he said, in reference to the majority of residents that spoke against the project.

Still, other residents understood that a sewer line could increase the value of their homes.

"It's a tough decision," said Gary Nowicki, of East Lucille Lane.

While Nowicki wasn't clear whether or not he supported the sewer project, he also voiced his concerns about waiting too long to correct the development's problem with a high water table.

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