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Town and citizen alike work on sewer projects

September 14, 2016
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

RIPLEY - While several water and sewer projects are finally becoming reality for the town of Ripley, council members heard Thursday from a private citizen who is also working on a sewer project of his own.

Larry Morton, a resident of North East who owns two Ripley properties on Route 5 near the wastewater treatment plant, presented his sewer-line project to the council at its regular meeting. Morton owns the lots at 10132 and 10122 East Lake Road and has a cottage on one of them.

Morton presented a plan to the board to lay an 8-inch sewer line from the manhole at the treatment plant eastward for 578 feet to the Route 5 right-of-way. The line would have four lateral connections for potential future structures and another manhole as required within 500 feet of the existing one, he said.

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Photo by David Prenatt
Larry Morton, who owns two properties along Route 5, presents plans for his sewer-line project to Ripley Town Council members.

The last lateral connection will run down to Morton's cottage near the lake, where he will install a sewer holding tank with a grinder and a pump to transfer wastewater to the service line, he said.

Morton said he has been working the property for 14 years, clearing the ground and improving it. "I'm interested mainly in getting this line down so that the cottage is inhabitable," he said. "Without it, I can't function."

Morton said he began the project by contacting Water/Sewer superintendent Darwin Rowe, who assisted him with the technical requirements of the project. Now that he has presented the project to the board for approval, the next step is to contact the state department of transportation regarding digging in the Route 5 right-of-way, he said.

"Everybody has to put their stamp of approval on it. You have to have all of your I's dotted and your T's crossed for a project like this," Morton said.

"Everyone wants to know about it. As far as I know, everyone's in favor of it."

Town supervisor Doug Bowen expressed approval for Morton's project. "I think it's a good project," he said. "It's commendable of you to take this on."

Bowen has been spearheading efforts to conduct four water and sewer projects in the town for many years through a maze of legislation and grant applications. This process is finally "winding down" and coming to fruition, he said.

Bowen reported that the council approved a bond resolution and established water and sewer district number 2 at a special meeting on August 30.

Although much of the cost will be paid through grant monies, the bond resolution will allow the water and sewer projects to move forward while awaiting those funds, Bowen said. "There will definitely be expenditures prior to the grant money becoming available," he said.

Bowen said the archeological review has been completed and all necessary information has been sent to SHPO, the State Historic Preservation Office. He also said that, at the August 30 meeting, "We confirmed the final order for creating water district #4 and water district #5."

The water/sewer projects will include a connection to the Westfield line, Bowen said. "The interconnect with Westfield's line was very important for receiving the grant package because in order to qualify, you need a sizeable project," Bowen said.

Bowen presented letters of appreciation, signed by town board members, to Bicentennial Committee chairperson Laurel Adams and Town Historian George Davis for their "commendable work" on the Ripley Bicentennial celebration.

In other matters, board member Robert McIntosh gave an overview of the procedure for switching to LED street lights. He said the cost per unit is about 30% higher but there is a significant savings in electricity consumption.

McIntosh said National Grid supports the town's intentions to replace its street lighting. According to McIntosh the town must buy the existing lights at their current estimated value, then give them back to National Grid. After this, National Grid will come back and replace the fixtures, and this will save the cost of purchasing the new lights, he said.

The board passed a resolution for Supervisor Bowen to write a letter to National Grid requesting cost analysis so the town might consider replacement of the existing fixtures with LED fixtures.

Bowen also reported on the possibility of the town contracting for trash pick-up every two weeks throughout the year instead of twice a month. Ripley resident Brent Ellis brought the matter of bi-monthly garbage pick-up before the board at the August board meeting, stating that "hanging on to your refuse for three weeks instead of two in 90 degree heat is very unpleasant."

Bowen said the cost is $420. to add an additional weekend pick-up, and the suggestion by Ellis was to go from 24 to 26 pick-ups, which would cost the town $840. The board voted to table this matter.

Board members discussed optional equipment for the JCB excavator which the town is purchasing. Bowen said he spoke with Water and Sewer Superintendent Darwin Rowe and Highway Superintendent Jim Spacht about extras for the excavator.

A motion was made to purchase a 60" ditching bucket for $830, a mechanical quick coupler for $780, a weld-on hydraulic thumb for $5,000 (installed), a 48" brush wolf for $7,900, and the necessary pin sets for the equipment , at the cost of $125. per set. The resolution passed, with the stipulation that the total expenditure not exceed $15,000.

The board also gave approval to go to bid for a 15 ton payload and a 20 ton payload heavy equipment flatbed trailer with air brakes. Bids for the flatbed trailers will be due by 2:00 pm on October 2, 2016, after which board members will decide which trailer will best fit the town's needs.

Bowen also brought the board up to date on the matter of derelict structures, noting that buildings which have recently been brought to the attention of the board are not delinquent in taxes.

Referring to "zombie properties," Bowen said the town wants to take steps to keep things from getting too far out of control. "This is a tough matter for me personally," added Bowen, "How far can you legislate personal property use?"

Bowen told board members that the 2017 budget process has begun. "My biggest headache every year is health insurance, and this year is going to be no different," he said.

Town resident Mark Smith asked the board if the town would be interested in purchasing a property by Interstate 90 that is now owned by the Ripley Fire Department. Board member John Hamels told Smith that the board is looking into a grant to study the efficiency of various town bodies, including the fire department. He said the efficiency grant money might help determine the best answer for the property along the thruway.



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