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New Castle Establishes Two New Sewer Districts

Riverwoods resident Don Mahaney, left, discusses sewer district cost allocation issues with the New Castle Town Board.
Riverwoods resident Don Mahaney, left, discusses sewer district cost allocation issues with the New Castle Town Board. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. –  New sewer districts in Riverwoods and Yeshiva Farm were established Thursday morning after a discussion on the topic stalled earlier in the week .

The disconnect was spawned Tuesday night when Riverwoods condo residents spotted what appeared to be a significant error that would put the community on the hook for 40 percent of the maintenance costs, when its 20,000 gallons per day of water flow would represent only 21.05 percent of the three communities using the services.

The numbers for the other two communities are: Yeshiva, 33,000 gallons per day and 34.74 percent flow; and Random Farms, 42,000 gallons per day and 44.21 percent flow.

“These numbers do not seem fair and are not what we agreed upon,” said Riverwoods resident Don Mahaney, a member of the Riverwoods condo complex’s homeowners’ association.

Mahaney came back Thursday morning to hear the Town Board and New Castle Town Counsel Clinton Smith’s explanation.

Smith said that because all three communities have different living characteristics, the methodology for the allocation formula used was an Inter-District Allocation Unit (IAU), which treats all living units as equals.

However, as Mahaney explained and Smith agreed, such a formula is typically flawed. For instance, many units in the Riverwoods complex have two or fewer residents, compared to Yeshiva Farms and Random Farms, which house more families.

Consequently, Riverwoods residents want the allocation of cost to be measured by “actual data” of each community’s water flow.

“Why use IAU units when they’re so flawed?” asked Mahaney. “We have a state-of-the-art meter in our community to determine flow to specially help us determine costs.”

Smith responded that the choice of IAU measurement was a “staff decision, and I accept your criticism constructively.”

Since the Town Board needs to approve the sewer district by Mar. 1 to include it on the town’s property assessment rolls for taxing purposes, the New Castle Town Board assured Mahaney and Riverwoods residents that it not only heard their concerns, but will make a conscious effort to resolve the issue.

“Today, the goal is to form this district,” said Town Board member Jason Chapin. “We’re very concerned with the allocation issue, and we are open-minded going forward.”

Town Board member Robin Stout explained that the town recalculates and sets allocations every December before the new budget.

“If we establish the district today, we can keep dialogue open and have the opportunity to establish what the allocations will be by December,” Stout said.

While Mahaney will be writing an official letter to the board taking issue with the IAU as the method for allocation measurement for the official record, there was a growing sense between the two parties that common ground can be found in the near future.

With this in mind, the New Castle Town Board officially closed the public hearing and passed a motion to establish the Riverwoods Northern 1A and Yeshiva Farm 1B sewer districts.

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