At the town board meeting a resident of the Higby Road Water District gave a presentation regarding the $365 water district charge on his tax bill. The resident felt that since he did not hook up to the water and was still using well water, he should not have to pay the entire cost per unit for the debt reduction. Instead he felt it was more equitable to have the charge based on assessed value. While we can empathize with the resident, the deal on special districts is that those who are in the benefit area will pay to retire the debt. Even though the resident does not use the water, he will eventually "benefit" from having the water pipes run past his yard because it will increase the value of his property at sale time.
Town board minutes reflect the fact that the creation of the water district was discussed in open meeting and there was a Public Hearing prior to the water district being formed...anyone could have attended those meetings and spoken out against the project.
February 25, 2004 - Public HearingA Public Hearing is held so that residents can speak out against if they are so inclined, but according to the minutes of that hearing, not one person spoke out against the creation of the water district. Members of Concerned Citizens attended the hearing and can vouch for the fact that those in attendance were told that regardless of whether or not they hooked up to the water, they would be responsible for paying a unit charge to retire the bond debt. In fact, it is also noted in the minutes. Now, that unit charge is what the resident is annoyed about having to pay.
After the Public Hearing, those that were against the water district collected signatures to bring the issue to a vote of all who live in the district. The vote took place on June 3, 2004...that would be the LAST opportunity that people who were against the water district could have spoken out...at the ballot box.
April 21, 2004 - Notice of Special Election - June 3, 2004The majority of residents voted 'yes' and so the district was created. According to the June 16, 2004 Town Board Minutes under "Results of Special Election" only 206 people took the time to vote...123 in favor...83 against! Where were all the people that were against the water...why didn't they speak out at the Public Hearing...why didn't they take the time to vote?
Getting back to the March 12, 2008 town board meeting, the town board told the upset resident they would prepare a response and get back to him. Hopefully, the town board only meant that rather than take town board meeting time, they will apprise him of the facts privately. Hopefully, they don't think that they can "work out a deal" for one resident. Concerned Citizens will be watching...if anyone gets any kind of "consideration", we will expect that everyone in the Higby Road water district who is still on well water will get the same "consideration"...that is only fair.
Speaking of the Higby Road water district, if you caught the article in the March 19, 2008 Observer Dispatch, "Loan will help pay for New Hartford water project", what a crock!
In that article Earle Reed is quoted as saying "This is a quality of life issue"; "We pursued the loan." Wonder who "WE" is?
The loan was "pursued" in 2002 and approved by the Environmental Facilities Corporation in 2003 according to the February 25, 2004 town board minutes:
We attended all the meetings on the water district creation during Ralph Humphreys administration...the deal was that the loan was to be interest free right from the get-go...that was under Ralph Humphreys administration...not Earle Reed. So just who is "WE", Mr. Reed?
Water Project Costs
Total system Cost - $3,982,000
Water Project Funding and Financing
Project funding agencies:
NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) – Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF)
Town submitted pre-application in 2002 for this project
EFC notified Town in June 2003 the project will be funded [emphasis added by this blogger]
Water Project Funding and Financing
0% DWSRF Loan for 30 Years $3,982,000
DWSRF Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU) 331 – 359
Max. First Yr. Annual Capital Debt Cost $ 106,187