WATERLOO –– The mayors of two south Seneca County villages voiced strong opposition Tuesday to the current Seneca County Board of Supervisors’ plan to have a single, central wastewater treatment plant in Willard serve the south end of the county.
Ovid Mayor Leon Kelly and Lodi Mayor Kyle Barnhart said the centralized plan advocated by the county board would be far too costly for residents of their villages.
Instead, the two villages have hired Mary Anne Kowalski of Romulus as a consultant to explore the feasibility of building a treatment plant near Ovid to serve both villages.
Kelly urged the 14-member board, which uses a weighted vote system based on population, to vote against a centralization proposal put forth by engineers from Barton & Loguidice of Syracuse. He said the north end board members have the most weighted votes and can outvote the small south end supervisors.
“I am concerned about this proposed new plant to be built in Willard. It is very costly and it looks like B & L has started this train and we don’t know how to stop it. We need no votes from the north end,’’ Kelly said.
“So I beg and plead that when this comes up for a final vote, you vote no. It’s a nightmare. If you vote yes, it won’t cost your constituents anything, but our people in the south end will get a big bill,’’ Kelly said. “We are at your mercy,’’ he added.
“Put yourself in my shoes. We need a sewer plan that lowers the cost to the south end.’’
Barnhart, elected mayor in March, agreed with Kelly.
“We need something more affordable to the south end. This is a big project. Please reconsider it. We’re dealing with people with low per capita income,’’ he said.
“A decentralized plan makes more sense. It’s less expensive and serves the needs of the south end better,’’ Barnhart said. He said Lodi residents pay about $340 a year now for sewer services and under the centralized plan, figures are showing that could nearly double. He joined Kelly in urging the board to oppose the centralized plan.
They got some support from Romulus Supervisor David Kaiser and Varick Supervisor Bob Hayssen. “I don’t trust B & L. They are pushing this centralized plan,’’ Kaiser said.
Barnhart said Lodi is in Seneca County Sewer District No. 1 and should not have to subsidize a plant in Sewer District No. 2.
The topic will come up again at the June 25 Public Works Committee meeting.