Friday, 19 June 2009 07:44
As a display to inform and educate local residents, the Hicksville Water District (HWD) hosted its 6th Annual Public Town Forum on May 20 at the Hicksville Community Center. The program is designed to keep the community abreast of all ongoing projects within the district such as bonding and treatment plants, maintenance programs, notifications, general status of the district, water quality, and state legislation updates.
Water Commissioner Karl Schweitzer and John Molloy, CEO of the H2M Group, presented plans for the Nitrate Treatment Facility at Plant No. 8. Both gentlemen answered questions and assured everyone that the current water supply to homes and businesses continues to be the same quality water the district has delivered since 1922.
Currently, the HWD is in the process of bonding for funds in order to begin and complete necessary projects that will enable the District to maintain and distribute quality water. Molloy identified 11 projects that are being drafted and planned. Five plants that are priority to receive upgrades or new treatment facilities are currently bonded for $20.1 million over the next five years.
HWD Commissioner Karl Schweitzer noted that, “the district has been and always will be very fiscal-minded and will always control costs.” Schweitzer went on to explain how bonding spreads out the cost of these projects and allows the district to “perform all these upgrades and not raise anyone’s taxes, which is a home run for the entire Hicksville community. It’s a win for everyone involved.” These projects that will be bonded will have no tax impact on the taxpayers.
Schweitzer updated the town on the district’s intensive fire hydrant maintenance program that is currently under way on 1,608 municipal hydrants that are located throughout our 7.8 square mile radius (Hicksville, East Meadow, Jericho and Westbury). The district made it abundantly clear that there are 39 privately owned hydrants throughout the District, and these hydrants are not the responsibility of HWD.
The HWD fire hydrant inspection program is two-fold: annual flushing (a quarter of the district each year), and annual inspection of all hydrants in the entire district. The flushing program involves recording pressure, review and plotting data, and flowing water through each designated hydrant. The annual inspection program involves opening all hydrants and inspecting their operating condition and drainage; ensure each is in working order, and record static pressure.
The district has also planned a five-year full maintenance program which requires painting each hydrant with reflective paint for increased visibility for firemen, greasing caps and stems and updating GIS maps and the fire department of any changes. All eight HWD servicemen provide this full range of maintenance throughout the district. A town resident commented that he never knew the district staff was so small considering all the work that they perform.
Schweitzer also took some time to discuss the recently passed legislation for the consolidation/dissolution of special districts. The legislation will allow anyone from the entire state of New York to sign a petition and start the process to dissolve or consolidate a district. The HWD is in complete disagreement with this legislation. “This is a decision that should be left to those that created the districts…the residents, our own town,” said Schweitzer.
Additionally the law in place now gives the county executive the right to begin the process for dissolution/consolidation without a petition, which the HWD again is in complete disagreement. The law also allots for a lowering of the petition signatures to 10 percent of registered voters (not consumers). That would be fewer than 2,500 residents in the HWD that has over 47,000 people. The HWD does not support legislature that does not put its town residents first.
The water’s district board of commissioners, along with Superintendent Bill Schuckmann, also announced that the HWD’s election day has been moved from August to the second Tuesday in December, and will coincide with the fire district elections to make voting for special districts more convenient for residents. Voting hours were increased (from 3 to 9 p.m.), and absentee ballots and special needs mail-in votes have been added.
Schweitzer hopes these added conveniences will draw a larger voter turnout and show the community that the HWD plans to do all it can to support its community.
For more information please contact the Hicksville Water District, 4 Dean Street, at 931-0184 or visit www.hicksvillewater.org.