Village of Dansville trustees reaffirmed on Tuesday a commitment to borrow up to $19.1 million to cover costs of a new sewage treatment plant.

Village of Dansville trustees reaffirmed on Tuesday a commitment to borrow up to $19.1 million to cover costs of a new sewage treatment plant.


Ryan Colvin, MRB Group, updated the board on the status of the sewer plant, explaining that the current plant is long past its lifespan and held together with “shoestrings and band aids.”


“The project is well underway at this point,” Colvin said of the six-year effort. He said the current timeline is to design the facility in 2011, bid in early  2012 and finish construction by the end of 2013.


While the board approved a bonding capacity up to $19.1 million for the project, Colvin noted more than $2 million in contingencies. Construction costs are estimates to come in closer to $13 million.


“Our goal is to do everything we can do with this project to be cost effective,” Colvin said.


However, opponents on the board and in the community worry that the project is getting ramrodded through approval.


Meeting attendees Tuesday questioned the location of the existing plant and urged toward a lower elevation outside the village.


Colvin said engineers considered running lines to Groveland or Sonyea plants, but said Dansville’s daily 1.2 million gallons of wastewater is beyond those facilities capacity and upgrading those facilities would end up costing the village more in the long run. As for a new site, engineers considered two locations, but when costs for construction came in 50 percent to 70 percent higher,  that led them back to to the existing location.


Odor was cited as another problem with the current plant.


“The reason it’s bad right now is the condition it’s in,”?Colvin said. A new plant, operated properly shouldn’t have odor problems, he said.


Trustee Don Sylor urged the board to table the village’s bonding resolution until more community information meetings could take place.


“What trumps that in my mind is that we’re in a time situation,” Trustee Kirk Walker said, referencing indications from the New York State Department of Conservation to force the village’s hand with a consent order and development moratorium.


When Mayor Bill Dixon, Deputy Mayor Andrew Kershner and Walker voted to approve, Sylor ultimately agreed to approve. Trustee Dick Whitenack voted against the resolution.


“I’m uncomfortable about $19 million. I feel it’s too much money,” Whitenack said.


Colvin said, “$19 million that floats out there is a very scary number.”


He made the case to the board that now is the time to act, citing low interest rates and noting delays to construction would increase costs.


The new plant will be designed to handle up to 1.75 million gallons of daily wastewater, giving the village some room for expansion or to add neighboring communities iver it’s projected 30-to-40-year lifespan.


Colvin said rates will go up once the plant is completed. Currently around $250 annually per user, he projects combined cost of operations and maintenance plus debt service to approach $800 annually per user. While that will more than triple current costs, Colvin noted it’s still below the state’s affordability rating of $860.