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Get moving on Rotterdam sewers

Get moving on Rotterdam sewers

Town has to get moving on sewer to take advantage of road repairs

Maybe when the state Department of Transportation rips up the pavement along Hamburg Street and exposes the sand underneath, Rotterdam town officials can bury their heads in it.

Or they could take advantage of the work and begin the process of installing sewer lines there to help boost the fortunes of the town's businesses.

So far, doing nothing seems to be the order of the day as the DOT makes plans for a $7.5 million road reconstruction project that will be totally paid for with federal and state funds.

If Rotterdam town officials want to ever consider running a sewer line down that road — as many businesses have been clamoring for for many years — they'd better start working with the state now to include the installation as part of the paving project.

So far, though, no town officials could even muster up the initiative to attend an informational meeting on Wednesday hosted by the DOT on the road project.

Had they attended, they would have learned that businesses had expressed a desire for the sewers. Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi had other plans for Wednesday night. Councilman Joe Villano claimed he didn't know anything about the DOT's project or Wednesday's meeting. And where were the other members of the council?

Maybe it's time for these officials to catch up with everyone else on this. The road project is not scheduled to begin until the spring of 2017, which seems a long way off. But it's a lot closer when you factor in the time needed to design such a project with alterations for a sewer line.

The good news is town officials might not have to commit to creating a full-blown sewer district for the road right away. But they could get a start on it. Buffardi said pipes could be installed while the DOT has the roadway dug up, but not hooked up to anything immediately. That way, the town would have a major part of the sewer project completed should it decide to move forward — without having to go back and dig up the new road.

In the meantime, town officials should be sitting down with the businesses along the route and meeting with engineers and financial minds to determine what installing sewer along the roadway would entail, including costs to individual businesses and residents. They'd also have to explore what potential steps they'd have to take to move forward, such as a voter referendum.

What Rotterdam officials don't have the option of is continuing to do nothing.

That would be irresponsible both to the businesses seeking to have a sewer line installed and to the other town taxpayers who would benefit from the expansion of the business district.

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