NYSTA reduces water bid; Woodbury still doubtful

Woodbury. Water usage estimates were lowered from 5,000 gallons per day to 2,000.

| 12 Feb 2024 | 12:35

In an updated petition, the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) lowered its anticipated water usage from its previous request of 5,000 gallons per day to 2,000/day. However, the reduction was not enough to convince the Woodbury Village Board to approve a moratorium release that would enable the NYSTA to pursue connecting its Harriman Maintenance Facility to the village’s water supply via Woodbury Common.

Speaking to the board via Zoom, NYSTA Attorney Patricia Desnoyers said the authority is confident that usage will not exceed the requested amount. “We did this analysis. We went back and reevaluated all of the figures,” said Desnoyers. “It is important to note that we are comparing apples to apples. Our earlier figures were just wrong.”

Despite assurances from the NYSTA that its water consumption would not exceed the requested amount, Highland Mills resident Christopher Graziano voiced his concern about the petition.

“Once anyone lowers their consumption downward, there is no way to stop them from taking the original amount. They can say they’re taking five gallons one minute, and they can take 5,000 once you give them the water.”

Graziano added that he advised the board against allowing any customer to tap off of another. “One customer, one line. That would be my strong recommendation.”

Speaking to village precedent, Michael Phillips, the water superintendent for Woodbury village, said he recalled a similar request made by NYSTA five or six years ago, which was denied by the village of Woodbury. He noted that he was not in charge at the time of that decision.

Other business

During the Feb. 8 meeting, the Woodbury Village Board introduced local laws number one and two for 2024. Local law number one would allow the village to override the tax levy limit when it approves the village budget for the fiscal year beginning on June 1. Local law number two would amend the village zoning code to allow the code enforcement officer or designee to enter nonpublic premises (with certain exceptions) with consent of the owner or occupant.

Commenting on the proposed tax cap override, Trustee James Freiband asked if it was premature to introduce this law.

“We’re five months away from the budget. We will have a much better idea of whether this is going to be a necessity if we put it off until at least the ordinary budgets are available.”

Village Treasurer Desiree Potvin responded by clarifying that the budget process has already begun and noting budget estimates were already out to department heads. She added that the budget review begins in March and the first meeting will be held in April.

Trustee Freiband also voiced concern over the zoning law change, sharing his objection to the naming of the law and his belief that New York State procedures aren’t properly identified in the text.

“The important part of this law is to ensure the building department understands the requirements for probable cause.”

The village board will entertain comments from the public for both introductory local laws at hearings scheduled for March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.