Village water meter installation at park riles Town Board
Town Board members are furious that the village has moved forward with installing a water meter at Thomas Thompson-Sally Mazzarella Park, which is jointly owned by the town and village.
The dispute surfaced during a Town Board meeting Monday, with town Councilman Allan Scherr saying village officials have ignored a stop work order and an intermunicipal agreement that requires both municipalities to approve projects on the property.
“There is an intermunicipal agreement between the village and the town that says the town is running the construction projects and the town engineers have final say,” he said.
“Meanwhile the village has said we need a water meter pit at the entrance
to the park,” Scherr said. “We ... objected because we don’t think it’s needed.”
While the property is within the village limits, a stop work order was issued by town Zoning Enforcement Officer Ronald Evangelista and town Building Inspector Ed Matuk, who said the installation is in “violation of the Zoning Law of the town of
Village Mayor Heath Tortarella said the stop work order holds no authority because the village has its own set of zoning regulations.
“The town code enforcement officer doesn’t have any jurisdiction ... in the village,” he said.
“It’s basically an issue of the Water Department, which is a utility that’s administered by the village,” Tortarella said. “It’s a complicated situation. You could compare it to
Central Hudson. No property owner can tell Central Hudson that they want power, but they don’t want a meter.”
Tortarella said the Village Board voted in August to move forward with the water meter installation at an estimated cost of $55,000. He said the town will be asked to pay a share of that cost despite objections to the installation, but he isn’t sure what steps the village will take if the town declines.
“When they make that
type of decision to not pay their utility, essentially they’re passing that cost along to the water system,” he said. “That’s not going to come from the village taxpayer fund. The water fund is user funded, so when the town says we’re not going to pay that bill it goes from being the responsibility of the park, which is funded by all town taxpayers, to targeting their own residents in the hamlet of Rhinecliff and a handful of other places in addition to all village residents.”