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      Legislator wants study on county takeover of town/village sewage systems

      O nondaga County taxpayers shell out $79 million to run the county's Department of Water Environment Protection. The WEP budget is funded through county sewer use fees assessed on every home or business hooked up to the sanitary sewer system, but some homes and businesses are double taxed. A number of villages and towns in Onondaga County charge a separate fee to connect to the county's system. Republican County Legislator Kathleen Rapp wonders why the county can't just take over the entire sewage system from towns and villages.

      "M y feeling it's one of the few core functions that we perform in county government , our sewer systems." Rapp told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon Tuesday.

      R app wants the full legislature to call upon the Mahoney administration to launch an in-depth study of a takeover of town and village sewer systems, so property owners would pay just one sewer use fee. "It's huge. Today's resolution is really to get the ball rolling. calling for the executive team to take a holistic look at this to find out what the opportunities are, what the threats are, what are the costs and how it would work." Rapp said.

      Among the villages operating a separate sewage system is East Syracuse. C ounty Legislator Danny Liedka is also the former Mayor of East Syracuse. He says a separate sewage system can become quite a burden on town and village taxpayers. "If you have a problem with your sewer system, it can be very costly. It can potentially bankrupt a village. For the county to get involved, as a former village mayor, that would be a service I would be happy to hand off to the county." Liedka says.

      K athleen Rapp says coming up with a plan to take over the entire sewage system in the county could take several years because it would be very complicated.