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North Collins couple faults village work for sewer woes

NOT GOOD ENOUGH — Vermont Street resident Jim Sebastiani brought a rubber-clamped pipe, to demonstrate the poor quality of repair he said a contractor performed on his sewer line, while working on a village of North Collins water project. He said that sewage backup is making his dwelling unliveable. Photo by Larry Wroblewski,
NORTH COLLINS — A month ago, Jim and Judy Sebastiani of Vermont Street in the village of North Collins took out a newspaper ad, faulting village water line work for damaging their sewer line.

The two said that they did not appreciate the village mayor and attorney’s explanation of the situation, during last month’s board meeting; they attended the Dec. 2 session, in person with a prop, to make their case.

Jim Sebastiani came armed with a length of PVC pipe, fitted with rubber pipe clamps at each end, to illustrate the type of repair made to his connection, after a village-hired contractor cut the pipe, while working on the water line.

Sebastiani disagreed with Attorney Richard Schaus’s statement that the problem was due to the pitch of the parcel’s sewer pipe. “That house has been there for 50 years,” Sebastiani said. “There was no problem until the cut.”

Schaus said his statements came from the information he had received about the problem. He noted that Sebastiani had filed a claim against the village, began a lawsuit and then dropped the suit. “Why did you end the lawsuit?” Schaus asked.

The resident replied, “There were reasons I choose to drop the suit; you can contact my attorney, to get all the information.”

The Sebastianis maintained that the contractor performed a very rapid repair on the damaged pipe. “They hurried so fast through the repair, we had problems the next day,” Sebastiani said.

The Sebastianis said they hired two different, master plumbers to review the situation, during the past two months. “They both found the problem in the middle of the street, not on my private property,” Sebastiani reported.

Wife Judy Sebastiani said that the continual problem forces the couple to minimize water use, to avoid sewage backing up into the house.

“It’s not your fault; it’s not my fault,” Jim Sebastiani told the board. “Let’s get the guy who caused this in and fix it.”

Schaus said that, if the couple could provide a written report from the plumbers they hired, stating the specific problem, he would be able to approach the contractor originally involved in the break and subsequent repair.

Sebastiani agreed and said, “We’ve spent a lot of money on that house. It was an eyesore when we bought it; it’s not, anymore.”

In another matter, Erie County Legislator John Mills reported that his colleagues had chosen to make him chairman of the Legislature.

Saying his selection should prove good for all of southern Erie County, Mills said, “It’s been 36 years since there has been a change in the controlling party.” He added that his position will ensure that items of interest to area voters will be addressed within committees.

Mills also reported about his long-held interest in developing a greater visibility for the Southern Tier. He said that Ellicottville is seeking to be included in the Scenic Byway that is currently being developed in the region. “Their interest will bring more attention to the great things we have in our area,” he said, adding that he hopes to add the farm trail, also continuing to be developed, into the broader byway project.

In other board news:
– Mayor Vincent George reported that the village is in need of a chipper and truck. He said the accumulation of brush at the dump site at the end of Dewey Avenue is full and only reducing the volume of brush will provide a solution.

Schaus said he could begin drawing up bonding papers for the two items, but also suggested the village review the possibility of lease agreements for the equipment.

– The board also agreed to send a letter of endorsement, as the Southtowns Rural Preservation Company Inc. seeks a $250,000 grant from the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation. According to the SRPC, 11 percent of homes rehabilitated by its program are in the town of North Collins.

– Village Clerk Lynn Macijewski reported that a new website for the village is now functional, at Residents may also enroll in the CodeRED® emergency notification program, through that site.

– George reported that the village has received $2,597 from the county, as its share of the distribution of mortgage tax.

– Trustee Brenda Bauer-Petrus, noting that Elm Street was scheduled to be repaved next year, asked that water currently pooling, in areas of the street, also be addressed.

– A one-year bond anticipation note for $96,000, to cover a police car and dump truck, was approved.

The board will next meet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 in the village hall.

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