Letter: EW Water Demands

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East Williston Mayor David Tanner
East Williston Mayor David Tanner

Dear Mayor Ehrbar, Deputy-Mayor Rynne, and Trustees Carr, Thomann and Uttaro,

After so many changes in your position without explanation, during at least two separate meetings, we requested that you put your final position in writing, in part so that we would have some reasonable basis to rely on it. You outright refused to do so and so we are now dumbfounded that you actually submitted your offer in writing to the newspaper rather than putting it in writing directly to us. That being said, the purpose of this response is not to dispute the claims you include in the first two paragraphs of your recent statement, which we do, but rather to move forward.

Before responding to your proposed specific terms, we note that Williston Park now asks that the agreement be exclusive. By agreeing to that provision East Williston would then be foregoing the opportunity to construct a well. Any such agreement between the two villages should reflect this fact in its price structure.

Proposed points of agreement follow:

• In exchange for East Williston agreeing to an exclusive contract and foregoing the construction of a well, maintain a price for East Williston of $3.70 per thousand gallons, which, as you know, is a rate well above that previously proposed by our water consultant. Our consultant proposed a rate of no more than $3.52 per thousand gallons.

Your proposed a rate of $3.87 per thousand gallons. You then added a 12 percent surcharge to East Williston resulting in a rate of $4.33 per thousand gallons. We believe the rate of $3.70 per thousand gallons would be a proper compromise taking all the circumstances into account. We also propose a rate lock of two years, barring any calamitous event which can be defined in the agreement.

• East Williston agrees in principal to maintaining a set ratio between the water rate of Williston Park residents and East Williston.

• Regarding emergency chlorination to East Williston, such “service” is not now nor has it ever been an additional service. After all, as a customer we certainly expect that Williston Park will provide safe, potable water to us as it does to its other customers. Our question is why we would now be charged for what has previously been included as a part of the provision of water.

What additional costs do you directly incur to provide this service to East Williston? (Costs above what you incur to provide the same service to your village).

How many times in the past 20 years have you had to emergency chlorinate either East Williston’s or Williston Park’s water system?

• We are also willing to compromise on the financial obligations of both villages. Based on a determination made by Williston Park which was overturned by the Court as improper, from April through August of 2011, East Williston paid an amount in excess of what was legally allowed. Our demand to you for payment of the excess amount of $61,252.80 then went unpaid for more than two and one-half years.

In contrast, East Williston immediately paid Williston Park the $254,330.60 it owed based on the determination of the court following the second litigation. Williston Park nonetheless seeks to claim additional money in the form of “penalties” in excess of 120 percent of the previous outstanding balance, which East Williston has consistently objected to as invalid. However, as mentioned before, we are also willing to reach agreement on that issue. We would be propose to pay a penalty of 25 percent of the previous outstanding balance after deducting the same penalty on the outstanding balance previously owed by Williston Park to East Williston. The resulting payment to Williston Park would be $48,019.45.

• Any amount paid by East Williston for claimed penalties should be specifically earmarked for capital improvements to facilitate the two-year rate lock-in period referenced earlier.

• Regarding remaining services, please provide a detailed outline of services. It is difficult to agree with respect to the same without specifics. For example, what does “…limited billing assistance” or “Assist/provide for the installation of new meters…” mean?
What assurances are there that your service(s) will include the same level of service we provide to our residents.

• We also want a long term agreement. Our residents, like yours, deserve price fairness and stability. However, in as much as a long term agreement essentially means East Williston will forever be dependent on Williston Park for water, we cannot enter into an agreement that will not afford us to reduce the rates we currently must charge our residents.

It is our understanding, however, that Williston Park will only agree to the provision of the services outlined in its proposal for a period of five years, while it insists on an exclusive water usage agreement for a period of at least 25 years. This creates an obvious problem for the future stability of the agreement.

The services as outlined in the proposal of Williston Park must be provided in an agreement that runs concurrently with any water usage agreement. This would prevent any later board from voiding the service provisions.

—From Mayor David E. Tanner
and the Board Of Trustees of
the Incorporated Village of
East Williston

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