SHERMAN - Findley Lake and Sherman have moved one step closer to sharing sewer services by agreeing to an engineering study of the properties around Findley Lake.
Rebecca Brumagin, Mina town supervisor, and Ed Mulkearn, Findley Lake Association president, attended a recent Sherman Village Board meeting to discuss the possibility of sewer lines running from Fridley Lake to the Sherman wastewater treatment plant. Both municipalities agreed to share the cost for a $9,000 study by Hill Engineering of North East, Pa.
John Patterson, Sherman mayor, said shared services are the only way small municipalities could operate and keep costs down.
"I feel that by merging services, we can both come out on top, so I'm on board with it," he said. "$4,500 is a lot of money, but I'm willing to risk it."
Brumagin told board members that Findley Lake has been trying to develop a septic or sewer district for years, but faces many difficulties. This year, however, she said she learned the area would be a good candidate for state funding for such a project.
The Chautauqua County Health Department requires all septic systems be registered. However, Brumagin said, at least half of the systems around Findley Lake are not registered because they are old. The Health Department is now talking about enforcing septic regulations more rigidly, she said.
"There has never been a time as right as right now to bring this to the people," Brumagin said.
Mulkearn added many houses around Findley Lake take up nearly four-fifths of the lot, leaving no room for both water and septic systems. If the Health Department were to demand registration, many homeowners would have no other option than to install a $35,000 mini wastewater system. Therefore, he said, this is a good time to present the issue to residents.
"Now we have a window of opportunity opening up," Mulkearn said. "I think it would be something that people would consider. The reality is that a high probability exists that even if it is a little more expensive up front to pump to Sherman, it will be less expensive in the long run because we don't have to maintain and upkeep a treatment facility. I believe there is a majority of people who will understand the situation."
In another intermunicipal issue, Brumagin asked Sherman to enter a contract that would enable the Stanley Hose Company to provide service for the entire town of Mina. In recent years, Stanley Hose has responded to many calls in Mina, assisting the Findlay Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
"We have appreciated the support of Stanley Hose in the last couple of years," Brumagin said. "You have been great to us and we appreciate it."
In other matters, the council agreed to pass a resolution overriding the state 2 percent tax cap. Patterson noted that, similar to last year, he did not think it would be necessary to use the override, but it was good to have it just in case. The village budget would be presented soon, he said, noting, "I think you're going to be real pleased with it.'
Patterson also urged the council to proceed with caution regarding the possibility of constructing a wind turbine to generate energy in the area. He noted there were several wind projects in the United States now experiencing problems, including a wind farm in New York that now has a lawsuit filed against it.
"What I don't want to do is to get involved in something we can't get out of," he said. "Be very careful. All I'm asking is that we be very careful."