Welcome to the official website for the village of Oneida Castle, NY.

It been a while since I have written because of our sewer project isn’t looking to good right now but we are not finished yet. Let me give you the background and where are now. We have a population of about 600 people and about 270 properties, many of which are owned by retirees. For eight years we applied for the EFC Clean Water Grant because of many failing septic systems and our septic systems were leaching into Oneida Creek that feeds into Oneida Lake and the canal system. Oneida County backed our grant request because of the leaching and knowing much of the village is clay based which is not ideal for septic systems. In 2018 we were finally awarded a 1.1-million-dollar grant and 3.9-million-dollar 0% interest loan which would have covered the cost of sewer project for the Village of Oneida Castle. This would have increased our taxes buy by about $480 a year which was alright since our village taxes are so low. However, without any additional grants, the homeowners would have to pay over 3 times that amount annually which we cannot afford.

Once the grant was awarded the village and our engineers from O’Brien Geer Engineering Firm (now Ramboll) started all the initial work. We had to obtain 97 easements which took a while, along with all the surveying, bore hole drilling and special borehole drilling for inspection by the Oneida Indian Nation. Nothing could go forward until the Oneida Nation gave their approval. Anytime they found any type of bone they sent it to be analyzed to see if they were human or not. I am not overly objective to that as I wouldn’t want remains of anyone dug up and destroyed. Since our sewer system was a gravity fed system DEC said all sewer mains must be below cellar grade. This made some our mains 20 feet deep. It required us have two pumping stations and a number of forced mains. Most of the preliminaries were completed except for the Oneida Indian Nation when COVID 19 struck and everything came to a halt. The Oneida Nation stopped their work and laid off their person in charge. For months there was no movement at all from anyone because of COVID 19 and not much could be done. When things eased up a little, our drawing were sent to DEC for approval. Everyone from DEC was working at their homes at that time so that took extra time. The Oneida Nation started doing some work and after a while gave their limited approval.

When we were finally able to put the project out to bid and every bid came back over our budget. We went back to DEC and advised them of what happened and they gave their approval to bring the mains higher. We had to have all our drawing redone and reapproved by DEC who was still slow because most everyone was still working from home. The new drawings eliminated one of the pumping stations and some of the forced force mains making the project cheaper. We also applied for another EFC Clean Water grant which we were was denied. Since we had moved the sewer mains higher, we decided to put the project out for bid again hoping that the work would be cheaper. Instead of being cheaper all the bids came in higher than before because inflation is hitting us hard. The new Price is based on the following:

Low bid price = $6,647,000, Engineering, legal, contingency & Misc. = $1,505,000
Total cost= $8,152,000
SRF Sort-Term Interest Free Hardship Financing (assuming EFC increases the current loan amount) = $6,114,000
2017 WIIA Grant at 25% (assuming EFC increases the current Grant amount) = $2,038,000
30-year Loan (based on 294 EDU’s), Loan payoff = $693/yr., O&M Cost = $184/yr., Treatment cost = $597/yr.
Total Cost per EDU = $1,474 per year. Inflation is setting in.

We are now three million dollars short of getting our sewer mains which the village desperately needs. There is no way we can afford this yearly amount for 30 to 40 years.

We are going to hook up our sewer system to the City of Oneida system which is in Madison County. Our sewer system would be a benefit to Oneida because of all the homes they lost when NYS offered the buyback program for those many properties lost in the flooding. We are presently applying for EPA, State and Tribal Assistance Grants, STAG Infrastructure Grants which asks us to provide a letter from officials in the Congressional Assembly and the Congressional Senate saying the support our village in obtaining a sewer system in the village. Out application has to be submitted by April 9th and the earlier we submit it the better our chances will be. NYS Senator Griffo has sent a letter of support and I am expecting a letter from NYS Assemblyman Sulka. I am sure we will be receiving a from US Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. I have contacted Senator Schumer’s office and was advised he does not give out letters of support. I thought that was what he was supposed to do for his constituents. So much for our support from our US Senator Schumer. I have not heard back from Senator Gillibrand. If anyone wants to write Senator Schumer (up for election this year) and ask him why he does not want to support us. Letter to the Editors may be a good idea also but not just to the local papers but to as many as you can so that he and everyone else knows he not supportive of us and clean water.

Please remember that the Oneida Castle Fire Dept. has fish fry until April 22nd. Please support your Oneida Castle Fire Dept. They are also looking for new members. If your interested call 315-363-4406

Mayor John Deschamps