Lebanon residents upset about sewer project - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Lebanon residents upset about sewer project


Several Lebanon residents told Eyewitness News that they are upset with being forced to pay for a sewer line that many of them can't even use yet.

Resident Kim Nicholson said her parents put their summer cottage located on Amston Lake on the market last year. They said the reason for that is the price tag on a sewer project that's been years in the making.

"A lot of people are having problems with the cost of the sewer going by, and then of course the installation, the electric," Nicholson said.

The roughly 300 homeowners on the Lebanon side of the Amston Lake are each on the hook for more than $16,000. That amount covers their share of the installation. If they pay in installments, spread out over 20 years, it comes to just under $1,100 a year.

The kicker for Nicholson and her family is that four years ago, even though they knew the sewer system was on its way, they had to install a brand new septic system when their cesspool failed.

That cost nearly $20,000. They said they were hoping to get a waiver, but say they never got an answer.

"That's the biggest problem," Nicholson said. "The residents here are not getting answers to their questions."

On top of the pricey installation costs, it's the annual users fee that has so many residents fired up. While many of them aren't even hooked up into the system yet, they've already gotten a bill for $328 and they say its just not fair. They asked Eyewitness News why should you pay a users fee, when you can't even use it.

"They did a pretty good job putting the line in," said Brett Harlow of Lebanon. "Now we're paying for usage fees and 90 percent of the people are not even hooked up."

Going forward the yearly usage fee will be $657 and that's for everyone, whether they live here year round or just in the summer.

But it's the initial bill that's angered many of the people that talked to Eyewitness News.

"We're leaving in two weeks, and no one is going to use it, so why do we have to pay a usage fee," Nicholson said. "You're not hooked up yet? We're not hooked up. We don't know when we're going to be hooked up. We're on a list."

Eyewitness News went to Lebanon Town Hall to get some answers, but the first selectmen Joyce Okonuk wasn't available. Eyewitness News have also reached out to her multiple times, but have not received a response.

Some residents told Eyewitness News they're not going to pay the usage fee until they're hooked up. Others said they're considering contacting a lawyer to see if they have any legal options.

Nicholson said she doesn't know if this cottage will stay in her family, but when it comes to the sewer costs, she told Eyewitness News on this lake, many are in the same boat.

"The people on this lake who have places that have been in their families for years," Nicholson said. "There's a lot of for sale signs, a lot of for sale signs and that's because these people are in the same situation as my folks are in."

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