Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is open to expanding the county's sewer district to include the hamlet of Millwood's business district.
Astorino was asked about his position by Patch after he spoke at his Ask Astorino forum on Tuesday night at New Castle Town Hall in Chappaqua.
The county executive believes that a Millwood sewer district extension, which requires approval from he and the county board of legislators, could be considered after the matter of bringing sewers to three northern New Castle neighborhoods is taken care of.
“I think that could be in the next phase," Astorino said of a Millwood expansion.
The county government and New Castle officials have been working on the next steps to extend a county trunk line to the communities of Random Farms, Yeshiva Farm Settlement and Riverwoods. The county legislature and Astorino approved sewer district extensions, which allow for residents to switch to sewers, in 2011.
Some residents in western New Castle have called for adding downtown Millwood to the sewer district, citing the economic impact as a result.
Under the plan that officials have been looking at, a trunk line would be extended along the Route 100 corridor, through the Millwood hamlet and heading northeast around Route 133. Because Millwood's business district is not part of a county sewer district, merchants cannot use the trunk line that would pass through. Currently, businesses rely on septic system usage, which has been a point of concern from some residents in western New Castle.
The three northern neighborhoods got sewer approvals because they were eyed by New York City because their sewage treatment system - they are a mix of septic and a small plant - were seen as posing health risks to the Croton watershed, which includes the city's water supply.
As part of the deal, however, odor remediation funding was approved for the sewage treatment plant in Yonkers that handles waste that would come from the communities. Adding more sewage to the plant has been a point of concern among officials in Yonkers.
Funding for the planning New Castle extensions is becoming a problem, one affected homeowner told Astorino.
Donald Mahaney, who has served on the Riverwoods homeowners' association board, told the county executive that the original cost estimate of about $16 million has risen to about $25 million. While a mix of special funds distributed from the county - they are called "East of Hudson" funds - and money from New York City would pay for the previous estimate, he noted that there is now a roughly $9 million shortfall.
Mahaney urged Astorino to support giving interest collected on an escrow for East of Hudson money for the project, saying that “interest would help.”
Astorino acknowleged that interest would help, but also noted that while the trunk line funding is the county's responsibility, individual home connections are the responsbility of the homeowners.
County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz, whose district includes New Castle and who attended the forum, responded to Mahaney that there would be help.