Vil­lage wa­ter me­ter in­stal­la­tion at park riles Town Board

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

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

Rhinebeck.”

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.”

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