SPRINGWATER — The Springwater Town Board had a busy night as there was some unrest in the community about several concerns.
On Aug. 20 the Springwater Town Board held a regular meeting to highlight the final spill report on the former Wormuth Site, and the request to extend the water district.
The Assistant Attorney General Daniel Schlesinger sent out a document to Supervisor Deborah Babbitt-Henry about an investigation by the Department of Environmental Conservation into contamination on town property. It is documented that a petroleum discharge originated from a petroleum product storage system located at 7978 Mill Street in Springwater.
A demand had been made that the town pay for the cleanup and removal costs of the site. It is said that the money went over the Spill Compensation Fund and the town owes $7,416.68.
The spill happened in December 2002 with Neil and Melissa Wormuth labeled as the dischargers. Documents show the damage affected on the property was groundwater and soil.
Kruk and Campbell Town Attorney James Campbell said that the New York State Municipal Insurance Reciprocal will not cover this cost.
Clifford Yeoman Sr. of Wayland made a purchase offer for the parcel on Aug. 14, 2008 during a town auction. Documents show Former Springwater Supervisor Norbert Buckley took control of the property, and did not refund the money back to Yeoman. This stems from extra charges on the property that Yeoman was reportedly not made aware of when he purchased it. The structure was labeled an eyesore, fire hazard, and health hazard back in 2008.
Babbitt-Henry said the purchase of the property by the former town board was made unlawfully. Documents indicate that the town had no financial responsibility to the purchase of the property when Yeoman decided he no longer wanted it.
Campbell said that he spoke with the Assistant Attorney General about the research done into whether the town is liable for this cost or not.
“The town did not discharge the contamination. The environment comptroller goes over the town for funds whether they are liable or not. I will need to have another talk with him,” he said. “The actual spill took place in 2002, and there has been no contamination found on the site recently. The contamination had been contained. I will talk with the attorney and the prior owners. We will talk options.”
Babbitt-Henry said that the county provided documents about the purchase of the property, and an authorization was never made to purchase that parcel.
“They knew the land was contaminated,” she said. “My goal is to hold those who purchased the property responsible. This took place six years before the town purchased it.”
“We had to take care of it when the roof collapsed,” Babbitt-Henry continued. “We didn’t want it falling over on the road. We did an emergency demolition of the property. We got in trouble with the DEC, and had to let them on there no matter what.”
Campbell said that the DEC has jurisdiction in the case since it was a prior spill site.
“It isn’t hard for the town to buy property. If funds need to be borrowed from the general fund you need to see if it is important enough to the public,” he said. “Since you are the stewards of the taxpayers dollars you need to decide if this makes sense.”
Springwater resident Peter Shuryn has sent a request letter to the town board to ask if they would extend the water district to his property.
Campbell said that it can be looked at one of two ways. One is that a motion is passed on behalf of the community with the town board, and two is that those who want to extend the district need to petition the town board.
There are several options with an extended water district, but it needs to be cost effective to the town. For a special water district it is important that all things are considered beforehand.
Campbell suggested that the town board talk with the town engineer about if it makes sense to extend the water district. Another suggestion was made that instead of doing one small part, that the town goes ahead and does the entire loop. It would run from Kellogg Road to Depot Road. Mill Street is already on the water district system. This appears to be quite a chore for the town as it will be 2,000 feet of extra pipe.
The town board voted to talk to the town engineer, and see if it is practical for the town to invest in.
The next town board meeting is Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.
The public were asked not to comment at this time since there was still a lot that had to be worked out with the attorneys.
Several residents were disappointed in this arrangement, and one voiced his opinion at the end of the meeting. He stated this is not what he and his buddies fought for, and that they have a right to speak at public meetings.