Cochecton eyes 2021 projects

Posted 1/13/21

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — The live January 4 reorganization meeting of the Cochecton Town Board was routine, but that’s to be expected of a board whose composition remains unchanged from last …

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Cochecton eyes 2021 projects


LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — The live January 4 reorganization meeting of the Cochecton Town Board was routine, but that’s to be expected of a board whose composition remains unchanged from last year. As far as job appointments go, almost all were reappointments of those serving in the same capacity during 2020. 

Ed Grund retains the deputy supervisor title and duties. Earl Bertsch was reappointed to chair the planning board, as was Joy Bertsch to serve as that board’s clerk. All other planning board members will continue their seven-year terms. Peggy Richardson will again be deputy town clerk, this year to newly elected town clerk Mary Ann Oumrim.

Code enforcement officer (CEO) duties will be shared between Jim Crowley and former CEO Greg Semenetz, who retired on Christmas Day 2020, intending to spend winters in a warmer climate. Crowley will perform the CEO duties in Semenetz’s absence while continuing to serve on the town’s planning board; Semenetz will resume CEO duties on his return north, probably in April. “There will be no problems in this job-sharing arrangement,” said supervisor Gary Maas. “These guys work well together.”

Karen Mannino was reappointed town attorney, serving at the board’s pleasure, as does the town’s engineering firm, Engineering Properties.

The youth commission board is unchanged from last year.

A comprehensive list of appointments can be obtained from the town clerk and will soon be available on the town’s website at

Maas said he expects the board’s four councilmen to work hard this year for their $4,700 annual stipends, as three major projects are in the works: an addition to the town’s highway department barn, replacement of the town hall roof and a comprehensive survey of the town’s sewer system grid.

First up is the sewer system project. For the past couple of years, the Lake Huntington sewer system has been periodically overwhelmed by inflow. The fact that this commonly occurs after a period of unusually heavy rain led wastewater plant operator Michael Walter to suspect that residential basement sump pumps may be illegally directing floodwaters into sewer system pipes. To detect this type of inflow, as well as to pinpoint leaks and discover unknown inflow lines and uncapped and incorrectly capped inflow lines, the town will make use of a time-honored low-technology technique: a smoke test.

According to Water and Wastes Digest (, smoke tests have been used successfully for more than 40 years to uncover various inefficiencies of wastewater systems. Here’s how it works: Smoke mixed with large volumes of air is introduced into the sewer line from a manhole. Because smoke, like water, travels the path of least resistance, it will show up wherever surface water flows into the system.

Walter said that a smoke test of the system was last done more than 15 years ago. That fact, combined with the recent spate of land development, housing starts and renovation of existing homes around the lake, makes the test even more imperative. Maas asked Walter to begin looking for companies that perform smoke tests. 

In 2021, the town board will meet on the second Wednesday of each month, with a work session beginning at 7 p.m. followed by a business meeting at 7:30. The planning board will meet on the last Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

Advertisement of special meetings for either board, along with other legal notices, will be published in the town’s official newspaper of 2021, River Reporter.


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