Village of Dering Harbor
Trustees’ Meeting Minutes
November 2nd, 2019, 9am
● The meeting was called to order at 9:03am
● Attendance- Betsy Morgan, Mayor, and Trustees Karen Kelsey, Patrick Parcells, and Clora Kelly; Absent- Ari Benacerraf; Wayne Bruyn (Village Attorney), Victoria Weslek (Village Clerk & Treasurer); Carissa Ahearn (stenographer), Ken Walker, Bridgford Hunt, Annbeth Eschbach
● A motion to approve the minutes from the October 12th meeting was made by Karen and seconded by Clora. All Board members present voted in favor
● Old Business
○ Water Update from Patrick- the village has now completed the negotiations for the long-term agreement with SCWA. It took about a year. It gets the village out of the business of operating a water system for the next 40 years, or sooner if the village chooses to terminate the agreement. The village was not equipped to manage the water system on its own. Under this agreement, much of the infrastructure of the water system is going to be replaced or updated within the next 5 years, including two new wells, about 1500 feet of new water main, new 3-phase electric to the new well, and the highway barn will be converted into a state-of-the-art water processing and treatment center. The net of the cost to the village of water usage (based on 400 million gallons) breaks down to about $390/year per household. He explained that with SCWA, it is a fixed cost of $50,000/year. Karen asked Patrick to compare those costs to what the village has had to pay in the past. He stated that it was an average of $101,134.38/year in operating costs. But that it’s not an entirely fair comparison because the $50,000 includes operating costs and capital improvements. Patrick went into detail of the net savings to the village, which are huge.
Wayne clarified the two parts to this agreement: First, the cost- both operating costs capital improvements. The village hashas an obligation to operate and maintain its water distribution system. In the past, the village had a part-time employee doing that and a failing system. Bringing SCWA to help the village get the water system back to operational is how the operating costs were identified. They have also identified over the past year all the deficiencies and upgrades that are going to be necessary for the long-term operation of the system. That’s where the capital improvement costs come from. Both are very important for the long-term viability of the water system. Secondly, if the village did nothing and the water system continued to fail, the village would have had to investigate what was going on and try to fix it on its own, which the village does not have the capacity to do. The SCWA has identified $1.4 million in capital improvements that are necessary for the village’s water system and are willing, at their cost and bonding rates, to undertake these capital improvements within the next 5 years. These capital improvements would need to be made either way. With SCWA, the village gets tremendous savings and expertise.
Bridgford expressed his concern over the potential exportation of village water by the SCWA and the fact that the agreement does not expressly prohibit it. To Bridgford’s point, Patrick read the piece of the agreement that Bridgford referenced and wanted to go on record voicing his concern related to this as well. Patrick shares the same concern and worked for hours talking to SCWA about it. He said that if it were possible to lock this point down, he would have. But Wayne explained why the agreement reads the way it does. It has to do with the sitting board versus future boards. For those concerned, it will be necessary to remind future village boards that residents do not want village water exported or sold.
Patrick said that at every turn, the SCWA has been a delight to work with.
Betsy stated that going forward, the number one priority for the village needs to be the water.
The board of the SCWA approved the agreement as well on October 30th.
A resolution to approve the final SCWA long-term agreement was moved by Patrick, seconded by Patrick. All Board members present voted in favor.
WHEREAS, pursuant to Article 11 of the New York State Village Law, the Village of Dering Harbor owns, maintains and operates a water supply and distribution system for the benefit of its residents; and
WHEREAS, over the last decade, the Village of Dering Harbor has experienced issues with an aging water supply and distribution system, which has required the replacement of the water tank and upgrades of water supply wells and other parts of the distribution system; and
WHEREAS, the Village’s water supply and distribution system was previously operated by one part-time employee who retired in June, 2018; and
WHEREAS, the Suffolk County Water Authority (“SCWA”) is a public benefit corporation of the State of New York whose powers and duties are in all respects for the benefit of the people of Suffolk County for the purpose of providing its customers the highest quality water at the lowest possible cost; and
WHEREAS, by resolution dated June 8, 2018, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor accepted an agreement with the SCWA to provide operational, management and consulting services to the Village on an interim basis, which has been extended to date; and
WHEREAS, during the pendency of the interim agreement the SCWA undertook studies on behalf of the Village with respect to the existing conditions and future needs of the Village’s water supply and distribution system and the parties investigated the feasibility of a long-term agreement to permit the SCWA to lease, operate and manage the Village’s water distribution system; and
WHEREAS, in addition to normal maintenance and operation of the water supply and distribution system, the SCWA, on behalf of the Village of Dering Harbor, has undertaken testing and monitoring of the water supply wells, repaired leaks and failing water lines, installed water meters and other improvements dramatically upgrading the quality of water and services supplied to the Village residents; and
WHEREAS, given the public authority of the SCWA and their expertise in operating and managing water supply and distribution systems for over 1.2 million customers on Long Island, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor have determined that it is in the best interests of the Village and its residents to enter into an agreement with the SCWA to lease, operate and manage the Village’s water supply and distribution system; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to §11-1128 of the New York State Village Law, the Village of Dering Harbor is authorized to lease its water supply and distribution system to the SCWA; and
WHEREAS, over the past year, the Village and SCWA have been negotiating the SCWA’s lease, operation and management of the Village’s water supply and distribution system, the terms and conditions of which have been discussed in public meetings, and are now memorialized in an agreement entitled “Management Lease Agreement for Operation of Village of Dering Harbor Water Supply and Distribution System;” and
WHEREAS, pursuant to §11-1116 of the New York State Village Law and Local Law No. 1 of 1989 (Waterworks of the Village of Dering Harbor), the Village is authorized to collect water rents and charge fees for the operation of the Village water supply and distribution system; and
WHEREAS, that in addition to the SCWA’s lease, operation and management of the Village’s water supply and distribution system, requiring residents to pay for water use in accordance with customary rates of the SCWA, and consideration for the lease of the now vacant maintenance barn, the aforesaid Management Lease Agreement requires the SCWA to make $1,140,000.00 of upgrades and capital improvements to the water supply and distribution system as a Village cost over 25 years; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the SCWA has authorized and approved the “Management Lease Agreement for Operation of Village of Dering Harbor Water Supply and Distribution System.”
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor hereby authorizes the Village of Dering Harbor to lease its water supply and distribution system and maintenance barn to the Suffolk County Water Authority and enter into the “Management Lease Agreement for Operation of Village of Dering Harbor Water Supply and Distribution System with the Suffolk County Water Authority;” and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that upon review and approval of the form of the agreement by the Village Attorney, the Mayor be and hereby is authorized to execute said Management Lease Agreement for Operation of Village of Dering Harbor Water Supply and Distribution System with the Suffolk County Water Authority on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Village of Dering Harbor.
● Ways and Means
○ A resolution to approve the abstract/bills to be paid was moved by Patrick and seconded by Clora. All Board members present voted in favor.
○ Nawrocki Audit- Nawrocki has agreed to come in on November 5th. Charlene already sent over the information they requested.
○ Status of Litigation and FOIL requests- a new lawsuit has been filed by Mr. Hogue against the ZBA, Vicki has been promptly responding to the FOIL requests.
○ Public Works- old equipment in the highway barn needs to be disposed of. Patrick proposed a resolution for the mayor to declare 3 pieces of equipment, some hand tools, and other junk as surplus. Betsy made the motion to approve the resolution and Clora seconded. All Board members present voted in favor.
● New Business- Mr. Ken Walker first said thank you to the BOT for the work they are doing. He wants to know what the village can and can’t do regarding residents upkeep of their property. Mr. Walker is particularly concerned about Mr. Ruttenberg’s bulkhead. He is concerned it is going to become a safety issue for the village.Wayne explained that the village does not have a village maintenance code. There is the zoning code. There is nothing specific about bulkheads. He went on to explain that if it comes down to aesthetics, there is nothing in the code that can address that. But Wayne thinks that Mr. Walker is suggesting something that may need the expertise of an engineer. Wayne suggested that if it has to do with a public road, it needs to be examined by an expert.
● Betsy announced that Town and County early voting has started.
● A motion to go into executive session at 9:57am to discuss litigation matters was made by Patrick and seconded by Clora. All Board members present voted in favor.
● The meeting was called back in to order at 11:19am
● A resolution to cancel the February Board of Trustees meeting was moved by Karen and seconded by Patrick. All Board members present voted in favor. Betsy asked Vicki to notify all residents by email.
● A resolution authorizing the mayor to hire a surveyor and/or engineers to survey, inspect and evaluate village streets and village properties as needed was moved by Parick and seconded by Clora. All Board members present voted in favor.
● Date for Next Meeting – Saturday, 14th of December 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
● Motion to adjourn at 11:21am was moved by Patrick and seconded by Clora. All Board members present voted in favor.