After reading a recent article in the Press-Republican about the cost of water for the Essex County Public Safety Building, I felt the need to address a few concerns.
Any supervisor can check county records and not only find the town’s local laws but also the agreement that the county and town signed when the Public Safety Building was being considered.
The town sat down with Mr. Myers and our town attorney to discuss the water agreement, including how the county would be charged.
We were assured by the county that its usage would be minimal. Having worked at a facility slightly larger, I had an idea what the usage would be but was told the engineer stated it would be substantially less.
We reached an agreement, reducing the cost in increments for usage. The county would be treated like any other Water District user.
The county violated the agreement by not placing the meter at the curb stop, like others within the district are required to do and as mandated in the original plans.
Our DPW head checked several times during construction to see when they were going to install the meter; they said they would notify him.
Several weeks later, when he noticed the meter pit had been blacktopped over, he stopped and asked if the meter was in. He was told the county had changed the plan to save money. The county never notified the town of this change.
At the time, it was estimated that it would cost about $40,000 to put the vault and meter pit in. The town had offered a free meter; it just needed to be sent to be re-calibrated. The county chose not to do this.
The county wanted the meters to be read within the building, which is against our local law. We discussed a plan where water would be read at the main meter running into Water District 2, then the other users would be deducted, leaving the county’s portion.