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Tupper Lake family disputes grinder pump issue

December 12, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - A local family believes it is entitled to a grinder pump.

Bob and Betsy Zande have been paying the Sewer District 23 fees on a property they own in the Tamarack Drive area. Now their son Matthew wants to build a house on the property, which does not have a grinder pump on it.

Bob, Betsy and Matt Zande were at a town board meeting Monday night asking the town to pay for the pump.

They said that since they've been paying the sewer district fees that go toward paying off the bond that supported installing all the other grinder pumps on properties that were already developed at the time, they shouldn't have to pay the full price to put their own pump on the property.

"We pay the same price as our neighbor with a grinder pump," Bob Zande said.

Matt Zande compared it to neighbors in the village, both paying village taxes, but one gets garbage pickup and the other doesn't.

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If the money from the bond is all gone, they are requesting that the cost of the pump be distributed among all the members of the sewer district.

The Zandes and town Supervisor Roger Amell have been swapping paperwork on the topic for more than a month. The Zandes said they believe that when the sewer district was installed in the mid-2000s, the bond was not intended to pay for the costs of pumps for undeveloped lots at the time, but they said there's nothing saying the district can't share the costs of adding new ones in the future.

Town Councilwoman Patti Littlefield agreed, saying it's similar to the members of the district splitting up costs for maintenance to other parts of the district. She lives in that district, which covers the Moody and Lake Simond Road areas, and she said she doesn't mind chipping in for the costs.

Councilwoman Kathy Lefebvre said she doesn't think the town was planning to have to use as many grinder pumps when it installed Sewer District 23 as ended up being necessary.

Part of the problem, Littlefield and Betsy Zande noted, is that the town doesn't have any written policy to deal with new grinder pumps. Littlefield said there are several things in the town that need written policies that don't exist.

"It's definitely something that we have to address," Littlefield said.

Because there's no policy, Amell said four people in Sewer District 17, in the area of the Little Wolf Beach, have paid for their own grinder pumps in recent years.

The Zandes said those people should have pushed the town on the issue.

"They have to advocate for themselves," Betsy Zande said.

Board members said they have to consult with town Attorney Kirk Gagnier about what they are allowed to do legally in the matter, but they will try to get the Zandes an answer soon.

"We'll definitely work on it for you," Littlefield told them.


Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or



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