The last two years have given many residents of Upstate reason to worry about water. The frequency and severity of rainstorms has taxed some aging town and county infrastructure beyond their current capacities. And the town of Milo has not escaped this fate. In the last major storm, flooded ditches and culverts washed over roads, eroded beaches, deposited tons of gravel and silt downstream and in the lakes, caused two mudslides along Keuka Lake, and damaged a small bridge near Seneca Lake beyond repair.
The Town of Milo is addressing these problems as best they can, but say the problems often originate on private property. In a letter addressed to Milo residents (See the town’s letter in an advertisement on page 14), the town explains that debris left in the flood plain of a tributary that enters Seneca Lake near Plum Point, specifically two large stumps, was responsible for the bridge failure. The stumps washed downstream, plugged the arch of the bridge, and the water then undercut the bridge foundation. While inconvenient, all residents of the Plum Point area still have outside access on either side of the bridge. Highway Superintendent Phil Strong says because of the needed design approvals and permits, and because of the high level of nearby Seneca Lake, work to replace the bridge is not expected to begin before October.
At the town board meeting July 20, East Lake Road resident Dyke Smith echoed the problem, describing the runoff that has damaged his property since the private development of Grand View Lane. Smith says the water does not flow as intended in swales and ditches diverted to a nearby gully, but rather comes down the lane itself, bringing sediment and debris that have plugged culverts downstream, and eroded his beach four times in the last year. He asked the town for advice, and stated that their plan to redig the ditches at his property are “treating a symptom rather than stopping it at the source.” Town Supervisor Leslie Church says they will consult with the county Soil & Water Department and talk to the Grand View Lane Developer to see if the problems uphill can be addressed.
In other business:
• Water District grant: After conducting the required public hearing, the board approved application for a $50,000 Community Development Block Grant to engineer the replacement and extension of the water line in District #3. The grant requires a 5 percent match ($2,500) from the town. Plans include another $600,000 grant application for construction of the line itself, but that grant is dependent on low income levels of the residents served.
• Water & Sewer Fees: The town passed a resolution creating a $150 fee for a water & sewer service call and $578 for rider pump replacement when the need is determined to be caused by the customers’ neglect.
• Deputy Clerk pay rate - The pay rate for the as yet unhired Deputy Town Clerk was set at $12.50 per hour during 6 month probation, and $13.50 thereafter.
• Zoning law: The town approved moving forward in the procedures to pass the redrafted zoning laws.