Village weighs whether to share water with NYSTA

Woodbury. The board also voted to transition to electronic document storage.

| 22 Jan 2024 | 12:40

The January 11 Woodbury Village Board meeting was a festive, and at times rocky occasion. The mayor wore a tuxedo to bring levity to the swearing-in process. But things did not proceed smoothly from there.

Todd Gold, director of Government Relations at the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), appeared before the board to discuss the possibility of receiving a waiver from the village. This waiver would allow the Thruway Authority, through Woodbury Commons, to access the village’s water supply for its facility at 38134 Route 17.

Gold stated that there had been numerous attempts by the NYSTA to access the village’s water in the past, but they had been rebuffed each time. Gold stated that the water would primarily be used by the employees for drinking water, as they are currently being provided with bottled water, and for employees to take showers. Gold also mentioned that the Harriman Maintenance Facility needs water to clean off the trucks and maintenance vehicles. Currently, these vehicles need to travel great distances to receive the care and maintenance to ensure their continued operation in maintaining local roads such as Route 32.

Members of the Woodbury community had numerous questions for Gold. First was concern about the wastewater created by the cleaning of the trucks and other vehicles at the Harriman Maintenance Facility. The public wanted to know where that wastewater would go, and if it is filtered before hitting area waterways such as the Ramapo River.

Maria Hunter, chair of the Woodbury Beautification Committee, asked if the NYSTA had approached the village of Harriman about acquiring the water, since the village is closer to the actual facility. Another resident wanted to know what triggered the most recent request for access to the village’s water. Gold stated during his presentation that the local water the maintenance facility had access to was contaminated in the ‘90s by the NEPARA plant. The village board voted to continue the public comment period on the NYSTA’s request to January 25th.

Other business

The village board discussed transitioning to electronic records to be more environmentally friendly. Trustee Jim Freiband expressed concern, stating that these electronic files could easily be stolen or otherwise abused.

Thankfully for the village of Woodbury, there is an expert in its midst: Desiree Potvin, Woodbury Village treasurer. Potvin stated, while addressing Freiband’s concerns, that she is the president of the New York State Records Management Association. Potvin explained to the board that the storage of electronic documents, as discussed in the Village’s resolution, would be done in compliance with the New York State archival laws, keeping them secure.

She then cited the example of “Laserfishe,” a program that provides electronic content management. Laserfishe gives the Village and others using the software access to backups that can be saved on a server, or even on a flash drive that could be placed in a fireproof safe. Potvin stated that there are three backups of all electronic documents created in such a way. Potvin’s comments alleviated Freiband’s concerns, and the village board voted unanimously to approve the resolution for transitioning to electronic record storage.