By Remington Whitcomb
MAYVILLE - Not a single member of the public showed up to a recent public hearing held by the North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District.
Photo by Remington Whitcomb
Available seating was plentiful during Tuesday’s North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District public hearing.
The North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District held the public hearing Tuesday in the Chautauqua Municipal Building located at 2 Academy St. in Mayville. Despite following the correct legal procedures by posting notice of the hearing in both The Post-Journal and The Mayville Sentinel News, no one from the public attended.
The hearing was scheduled to offer the public a chance to comment, question or speak grievances against a rate increase for North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District customers.
Since there was no public comment, the sewer board will now send the proposal to the Chautauqua County Legislature for approval.
"Everything goes to the county legislature now," said Greg Yaw, North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District attorney. "The (legislature) can now approve or deny the increase. Upon the legislature's approval, the (rate increase) becomes effective."
According to Yaw, contingent upon the legislature's approval, North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District customers can expect a rate increase of $378 per household unit, per year. Yaw said that this breaks down to an increase of $94.50 per billing period; the first increase, upon approval, will occur in December, for the September, October and November billing period.
According to Tom Carlson, North Chautauqua Lake Sewer District director, the last rate increase for the district happened in 2003.
"We used to have different charge areas because of the different costs of the collection system," said Yaw. "However, those costs have been largely paid off now, so we don't need to have the differences (in rates) anymore."
Had members of the public shown up to the hearing, members of the sewer board would have taken into consideration any comments or concerns before pre-filing the increase with the county legislature.
Additionally, a separate public hearing for a pending rate increase in the Portland, Pomfret and Dunkirk Sewer System also went unattended by the public.
"That's the purpose of the public hearing: to hear what the public has to say, and give them the ability to comment and influence the board action. Secondarily, people usually have questions, and we respond to all the questions."
According to Yaw, the district's proposal will likely be decided upon by the county legislature sometime in August. Members of the public still have an opportunity to speak before the legislature when the proposal is voted upon.