Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nice Editorial's in today's Auburn Citizen

There are three nice editorials dealing with Owasco Lake in the Auburn Citizen tonight. One deals with the expansion of the watershed inpsection program in the Owasco Lake watershed. The Owasco Watershed Lake Association is advocating for expansion of the inspection program. 

What do you think? Please leave us your comments on the proposal to have lake water drinkers and users pay a little bit more to protect Owasco Lake.

More Lake Watchers Needed - Guy Consentino (The Auburn Citizen 5/19/10)

If you could call the protection of Owasco Lake a continuing saga, the newest chapter is again about money and how to pay for keeping the lake that has some 45,000 people drinking from it, not only clean, but protected in the long term. It seems clear that we are going to again get to the brink of the lake deteriorating, before we can get local leaders to ensure long term funding to protect it.
In question are letters sent by Auburn City Manager Mark Palesh to local officials about the city’s commitment to the current program, not only of inspections, but also creating a stable funding stream that started with a deal in 2007. Three years ago, state Sen. Michael F. Nozzolio put on the table a one-time funding opportunity to pay for inspections for one year. His condition, after being burned by Cayuga County a few years before on an economic developer position, was that permanent financing for the following two years had to be in place before the state’s money was released. The result was a deal between the City of Auburn and Town of Owasco, both of which draw water from Owasco Lake, to add a surcharge to their billings for users to pay for a single watershed inspector #— far short of what is needed.
This year the deal runs out and while it looks as if the city will still stick with its fee on water, the Town of Owasco is looking to increase their surcharge if the City of Auburn does, in order to add a part-time inspector #— far short of what is needed. With a 208-square-mile watershed, which is larger than neighboring Skaneateles’s which has several more inspectors, the need for more personnel resources is clear.
In question is whether the city, the largest drawer of water, should get more from its citizens, and as one should expect, those it sells water to (i.e. Aurelius, Montezuma, Weedsport, etc). Yet, one key player who has not been involved financially from day one and should be is the county. They slipped through the financial commitment process by instead providing “oversight” and space for the sole watershed inspector (some have felt that the only reason they went that far was that they wanted to keep tabs on the inspector and make sure they didn’t go after some legislators’ constituents).
What has to be remembered is that more than these two municipalities have an interest in a clean watershed. For example, those who draw their water from the lake directly in Moravia, Niles and Scipio, among others, require clean water and should be covering part of that cost. It is time for a permanent, long term, inclusive financial plan to be implemented that includes the county.
Cosentino is a former mayor of Auburn and can be contacted at

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