Written by Michael Scro Friday, 26 October 2012 00:00
The Village of East Williston announced during its Oct. 15 board of trustees meeting that in light of ongoing struggles with Williston Park over water rates, the village is actively looking for another water supplier.
The village has been in contact with the Albertson Water District, Village of Mineola, Old Westbury and Carle Place, holding discussions on each possibly supplying the village with 25 percent of their water. Neither of the alternative municipalities have enough water to be the village’s only provider.
The village has also approached two private water providers.
Mayor David Tanner also addressed a question about the village supplying their own water, which was looked into in 2007 and was declared not feasible for a variety of reasons. Responding to comments by residents who received $1,600 and $3,800 water bills for six months, Tanner brought the village up to speed on where they stand in their battle with Williston Park on water rates.
“We think the price is way too high, and our objective is to lower them as much as we can…we’re pretty much held hostage because we don’t provide our own water,” Mayor Tanner said.
Currently in a legal battle with Williston Park on raising the water rate in April 2011 from $2.99 per thousand gallons to $3.83 per thousand gallons without a public hearing, the New York State Supreme Court ruled in East Williston’s favor in the first round. Williston Park has appealed that decision.
As of a hearing in August by Williston Park, the rate has since increased to $4.33, which East Williston has not yet passed on. In 2006, East Williston and Williston Park hired Guastella Associates to establish a water rate.
Before the rates were going to be increased in 2011, the village suggested another study be done, which according to Tanner was refused by Williston Park. Dvirka & Bartilucci, hired by Williston Park, then did a newly revised study.
Tanner explained that some of the differences in the two plans included: certain costs designated for Williston Park indicated in the Guastella study were shifted to East Williston, including maintenance of the water mains throughout the Village of Williston Park.
According to Trustee Robert Vella, the amount Williston Park residents pay for their water is costs for their infrastructure, as well as administrative costs. “Our argument is: folks, we don’t need to maintain the water mains on the west side of Willis Ave. If they break, it doesn’t affect our water,” Vella said.
Vella also stated that Williston Park is refusing to provide an emergency chlorination plan to East Williston, which they were then notified by the Nassau County Department of Health to implement their own. Williston Park Paul Ehrbar says approximately six years ago, East Williston was notified their not having such a plan was a violation, and this is not new.
“Williston Park has been seeking a long term agreement for over seven years, and this would have included an emergency chlorination plan for the residents of East Williston,” said Ehrbar.
As of April 1, 2011, the water rates for East Williston are $5.47 per thousand gallons for the first 100,000 gallons used, and $5.72 per thousand gallons over 100,000 gallons used. As a measure to help prevent unusually high water bills, the board encourages residents to check their meters daily.