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Riverwoods Residents Irate Over Possible Sewer Cost

Residents of New Castle condo complex feel that they will be overcharged for operation and maintenance.

Several residents from the Riverwoods condo complex spoke up against their possible share of operational costs for the planned sewer extension for the community, arguing that they will be pay too much in proportion to their usage.

Donald Mahaney, who is a member of the complex's homeowners' association and has been part of the effort to bring sewers to it, noted that Riverwoods is facing a roughly 40-percent share for paying maintenance costs out of three communities that are part of the extension, a figure that's far more than its percentage of the anticipated sewage flow.

“And that just does not seem fair and it wasn't what we agreed upon," Mahaney said.

Mahaney and other residents brought up the issue at a public hearing held Tuesday night by the New Castle Town Board for establishing a sewer district for Riverwoods. The complex, along with Yeshiva Farm Settlement and Random Farms, are each part of a sewer diversion process, where an existing trunk aline along Route 100 in the Briarcliff Manor area will be run north and then northeast by Route 133. The addition of sewers is meant to take waste away from the sites, which reply on a mix of septic and an on-site sewage plant, and to prevent waste from getting into the New Croton Reservior, which serves as part of New York City's water supply.

According to the data that Mahaney cited, Riverwoods would have a 40.66-percent share of operation and maintenance costs. However, its gallons per day of flow only stands at around 20,000, or 21.05 percent out of the three communities that are part of the diversion project. Yeshiva is at 33,000 gallons per day (34.74 percent of flow), while Random Farms is at 42,000 gallons per day (44.21).

Mahaney argued that the per-unit cost under such a setup would be $2,800 per unit holder, versus about $1,250 per unit that is paid for the complex's existing on-site treatment plant.

Resident John Miller, enraged, asked about calculation of the cost and was concerned about the process for changing them.

“If for some reason, somebody put the wrong numbers into the calculator, then it's improper to be charging us 40 percent.”

The board is operating under a tight schedule for the hearing an approval, because it has until March 1 to approve the district so that it can go on the town's property assessment roll for taxing purposes. Because of this, the town board agreed to adjourn the hearing until Thursday, at an unusual 8 a.m. time at town hall, so that data for the allocation can be scrutinized.

More than a dozen Riverwoods residents attended the Tuesday hearing. The complex, located in New Castle's northern panhandle, has 148 condo units.

Expanding sewer service received approvals from the county legislature and county executive in late 2011, who needed to sign off on the plan. The sewage would be diverted to a treatment plant in Yonkers. Construction has yet to begin, however, and a term sheet for distributing funding needs to be worked out between New Castle, Westchester County and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection.

The board also voted to adjourn a hearing for creating Yeshiva's district, also postponing it until Thursday morning. Random Farms, meanwhile, already has its district set up.

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