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Sandy Beach sewer hookup carries $1.1 million price for 26 homes

A proposal to connect the Sandy Beach neighborhood to the Greenport sewer system may have hit a snag, after an engineering report put the cost of the project at $1.1 million.

The beachfront neighborhood off Sterling Basin is the only part of Greenport Village that isn’t connected to the village sewer system, and only has 26 properties, according to village treasurer Robert Brandt. He said the cost per property to connect to the sewer system would be $42,764 each, of $468 per year over 91 years.

The $1.1 million estimate by engineering company Cashin Associates includes a $208,000 cost to remove existing cesspools, Mr. Brandt said. The village has already spent about $23,000 on the project.

“I’m going to have a problem with this funding going forward,” said Trustee Julia Robins. “After we saw what the estimated cost of this project would come to – which is close to $1 million to service about 24 or 25 houses down at Sandy Beach – I’m not sure we can ask taxpayers to fund houses that are being used three to four months a year.”

She said the village should consider other options.

“My thoughts are similar to yours,” Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said to Ms. Robins.

“For me, this is a major environmental hazard waiting to happen,” Trustee Doug Roberts said.

The homes in Sandy Beach go right up to the water in some cases.

Mr. Roberts, who said he’s “on the fence,” on this issue, suggested calling a meeting with Sandy Beach residents to discuss the options.

Mayor George Hubbard Jr. agreed, and is planning to set up such a meeting.

An earlier engineering estimate from a different company a few years ago put the total cost of the project at $260,000, according to officials.

They also did a second estimate that included some roads that are not part of the village but are close.

That one came to $400,000. The additional roads were included because officials felt the area is too small on its own to qualify for grants.

Resident Arthur Tasker was livid at the possibility the village board may now be backing out of the project.

He said he came to Thursday’s Village Board meeting thinking the board was planning to move forward with the project when he saw it on the agenda.

“Instead, I got treated to the biggest rug jerk I think I’ve ever encountered.”

He said Sandy Beach has been part of the village water district since about 1942, but still isn’t in the sewer district.

“It’s shameful to pull the rug on this project at this point,” he said.

Mr. Hubbard said the board hasn’t made a decision to drop the project. He said the next step is to meet with the Sandy Beach property owners. That meeting hasn’t been scheduled yet.

Resident Bill Swiskey, a former village utilities director, said the $1.1 million estimate is “ridiculous.”

He too suggested the village get a second opinion from a different engineering firm.

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Photo: Homes in the Sandy Beach neighborhood in Greenport. (Credit: Tim Gannon)