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TAKE THE SURVEY! 
KingstonCitizens.org creates a timeline of the withdrawn Niagara Bottling Company proposal and wants your input!

 

KingstonCitizens.org is a community-based organization committed to improving the quality of life of Kingston residents through accountability and transparency between the people and their local government. By providing citizens with current and important information through better communication, our work is meant to nurture citizen participation and empowerment through projects, education and fun.

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Become a Water Board Commissioner for Kingston’s Water Department.

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By Rebecca Martin

To be considered as a Commissioner of the Kingston Water Board:

  1. Please submit your resume/CV (Curriculum Vitae) to Carly Williams, City of Kingston Clerk: cwilliams@kingston-ny.gov by April 30th, 2015 (because we were not given a date by the Mayor’s office, this date is arbitrary. However, we presume that it gives the city time to collect interest and make a decision).
  2. The term is five years.
  3. You must be a city resident or business person.
  4. Please let us know that you have applied by contacting KingstonCitizens.org at Rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

On May 31st 2015, Water Board Commissioner Al Radel’s term will expire. Radel has served as a Commissioner on the Water Board now for 15 years, which is three terms. We appreciate his service.

That means, that a spot is opening up – and we are hoping that citizens who are interested in serving will step up.

The Mayor of Kingston appoints citizens (and business persons) to most Commissions/Boards/Councils in Kingston. Recently, we reached out to the Mayor’s office to find out what the process was. You know how fast we move around here, and after the second request without getting information, we decided to lay out our questions in a PETITION to give the public a chance to weigh in. That petition is live now, so have a look, consider signing it and leave a comment.

The questions were simple.

KingstonCitizens.org requests that Mayor Shayne Gallo require Water Department Superintendent Judith Hansen to:

  1. Make both the description of the Board of Water Commissioner’s role and length of term visible and public on the City of Kingston’s Water Department web page.
  2. Make all of the current members of the Board of Water Commissioners biographies and length of service to date visible and public on the City of Kingston’s Water Department web page.

Furthermore, that:

  1. The City of Kingston’s Mayor, who appoints Board of Water Commissioners, publish a public notice in a timely fashion announcing its search for new candidates for the upcoming term. This announcement should include a description of the Board of Water Commissioner’s expected role; preferred experience / qualifications for candidates; contact info and deadline for submissions; and the term length.

Yesterday, we heard from Water Department Superintendent Judith Hansen who responded:

“The Mayor asked that I contact you to let you know that appointments to the Board of Water Commissioners are made by the Mayor and that if you have anyone that would like to be considered for the position, they should submit their CV to him via the City Clerk’s Office.  Neither the Board nor any employee of the Water Department, including the Superintendent has any role in or input into the selection process.”

Not much in the way of answering our questions. Then later, we heard directly from Mayor Gallo’s office:

“This is in reply to your inquiry about how vacancies and/or appointments are made to the Board of Water Commissioners or any other City board or Commission. Be advised the following process has been used since the City Charter has been adopted: Any interested City resident and/or business person may apply for consideration to any City Board and/or Commission by providing a letter of interest with a resume and background information and/or curriculum vitae of said individual. The interested party should submit the above to the City Clerk’s Office.  Upon receipt, the letter of interest shall will forwarded to my office for review and consideration.   If you know of an interested City resident who would like to be considered for appointment to the Board of Water Commissioners and/or other City boards and commissions, please share the above information with them. Thank you for your interest.”

The points unanswered at least expose something critical.  We have some information on the process, but nothing that we didn’t already know.

So why can’t the City of Kingston provide a description of a Water Board Commissioner? Or nail down their term? Or share their biographies and experience so that we know who is at the helm of our water supply? Or put out a notice in the papers to residents with a deadline for their response?

As we are entering into an election cycle, we will take these things up again at an appropriate time.  We intend to advocate for Kingston to overhaul it’s city charter at a future date.

Until then:

To be considered as a new Commissioner of the Kingston Water Board:

  1. Please submit your resume/CV (Curriculum Vitae) to Carly Williams, City of Kingston Clerk: cwilliams@kingston-ny.gov by April 3oth, 2015 (because we were not given a date by the Mayor’s office, this date is arbitrary. However, we presume that it gives the city time to collect interest and make a decision).
  2. The term is five years.
  3. You must be a city resident or business person.
  4. Please let us know that you have applied by contacting KingstonCitizens.org at Rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

KingstonCitizens.org sponsors a public educational discussion titled “Water and Waste Water Infrastructure 101″ on Tuesday, March 24th

 

St-Marys-Water-Recycling-PlantKingstonCitizens.org sponsors a public educational discussion titled “Water and Waste Water Infrastructure 101″ on Tuesday, March 24th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Kingston Public Library, 55 Franklin Street in Kingston, NY.  The group’s guest will be Water Resource Specialist Candace Balmer of RCAP Solutions (Resources for Communities and People).

Kingston, NY:   KingstonCitizens.org is pleased to present an educational discussion titled “Water and Waste Water Infrastructure 101″ on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 at the Kingston Public Library, 55 Franklin Street in Kingston, NY. from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.  Moderated by KingstonCitizens.org’s Jennifer Schwartz Berky, the group will have the opportunity to speak with Water Resource Specialist CANDACE BALMER to explore water and wastewater infrastructure,  how it is and can be funded, the importance of regular maintenance and the reality of periodic rate increases to keep this huge investment functioning. A question and answer period will also take place.

This event is free to the public and will be filmed by Kingston News. Sponsored by KingstonCitizens.org with the support of the Woodstock Land Conservancy, Riverkeeper and Catskill Mountainkeeper.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin at rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

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Our Guest:

About Candace Balmer, Water Resource Specialist RCAP 

Ms. Balmer joined RCAP Solutions in March 1997 after previous experience as Associate Director, Pollution Abatement Technology Program at Westchester Community College and as Project Engineer with Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM).  Advisory Boards and Task Forces: NY Onsite Wastewater Training Network (OTN); Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership (LEWP); NYC DEP-coordinated Ashokan Reservoir Working Group (ARWG).  Education: A.A.S. Water Quality Monitoring; B.A. Anthropology; M.S. Environmental Engineering.

RCAP Solutions, Inc. is the Northeast regional partner of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP).  RCAP is federally funded to assist small rural communities with water and wastewater projects.

Sponsored by:

About KingstonCitizens.org
KingstonCitizens.org is a community-based organization committed to improving the quality of life of Kingston residents through accountability and transparency between the people and their local government. By providing citizens with current and important information through better communication, our work is meant to nurture citizen participation and empowerment through projects, education and fun.

With Support from:

About Woodstock Land Conservancy
The Woodstock Land Conservancy is a non-profit organization committed to the protection and preservation of the open lands, forests, wetlands, scenic areas and historic sites in Woodstock and the surrounding area.

About Riverkeeper
To protect the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries, and safeguard the drinking water of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents.

About Catskill Mountainkeeper
To be the strongest and most effective possible advocate for the Catskill region; working through a network of concerned citizens we promote sustainable growth and protect the natural resources essential to healthy communities.

TAKE THE SURVEY! KingstonCitizens.org Creates Timeline of the Withdrawn Niagara Bottling Company Proposal.

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TAKE THE SURVEY

KingstonCitizens.org creates timeline of the withdrawn Niagara Bottling Company proposal.  The group has created a survey to capture the impressions of their partners and citizens to make a historical document.

Kingston, NY – KingstonCitizens.org is working on a timeline about the Niagara Bottling Project and wants to hear from the public.

On February 13, 2015, Niagara withdrew its plans to occupy the proposed site in the Town of Ulster. The proposed project would have included the purchase of 1.75 million gallons of water from the Kingston Water Department from our reservoir (Cooper Lake) located in the Town of Woodstock.

The group wishes to document citizens’ impressions of the events that occurred over the past six months. The group is working to create a historical document noting each critical event that can also offer insight, information and inspiration to other communities facing similar concerns that this proposal has brought to light.

TAKE THE SURVEY or visit www.KingstonCitizens.org for more information.  Survey responses are due Monday, March 2, 2015.

For questions or more information, contact Debra Bresnan at debra@kingstoncitizens.org

Niagara Bottling Passes On Town of Ulster Site.

 

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Over the past five months many groups have worked tirelessly across communities and political boundaries to collect important information regarding the proposed Niagara Bottling project. It has always been our aim to encourage a more open process which is critical when decisions are being made about how our public water resources will be managed, used and potentially sold.

The Niagara Bottling Company chose not to pursue a public scoping process and all that it would entail. We respect their decision.  Any impact that we might have made is a reflection of strong resolve, partnerships, commitment, patience and perseverance by us all. It is a great illustration of Democracy at work in the Hudson Valley.

As we shift gears and look forward to what’s next, we fully expect to continue to use our new capacity to advance the public good. There is a lot to do on the subject of water that has been brought to light by this proposal, and it is our goal to help protect this resource and its infrastructure so that it will remain in the hands of the people forever.

KingstonCitizens.org would personally like to thank our most intimate partners in this work.  Without their time, expertise and courage, the outcome would have certainly been different: The Woodstock Land Conservancy, Riverkeeper and the Esopus Creek Conservancy.

Thank you to Food and Water Watch, SaveCooperLake.org, Catskill Mountainkeeper, NYPIRG, The Wittenberg Center, Mid-Hudson Sierra Club, Red Hook Conservation Advisory Council, Clark Richters and Kingston News, SUNY Ulster Environmental Club, Scenic Hudson, Sustainable Saugerties, Slow Food Hudson Valley, Town of Woodstock, Town of Red Hook, City of Kingston Common Council and Conservation Advisory Council, Kingston Transition, Woodstock NY Transition and all of the local businesses who helped to get the word out and host public educational events.

But most of all – thanks to you. The citizens. It is because of you that the outcry for water protection has resulted in a huge win for our communities, the region and the State of New York and a huge opportunity to plan for wise protection, stewardship and management of our critical watersheds and public water supplies as we face the challenges of climate change.

In solidarity as we proceed.

UP NEXT:  Educational panels regarding Water, Infrastructure, Economic Development and more.

Kingston Water Department: Respond to Four Month Old FOIL Request Now.

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On October 15th 2014, the national organization FOOD AND WATER WATCH submitted a FOIL request (New York’s Freedom of Information Law, Public Officers Law 87 et. seq) to Kingston’s Water Department to release “all records and documented communications, including direct written correspondance and emails, between Niagara Bottling Company and/or its representatives and the Board of Water Commissioners.  In their letter, the same request was made of Mayor Shayne Gallo including any correspondence and emails between the Town of Ulster and Mayor of Kingston regarding the Niagara Bottling Company proposal.” There is that and more. Please read the attached.

“When an agency receives a FOIL request…the law states that it has five business days to grant or deny access in whole or in part, or if more time is needed, to acknowledge the receipt of the request in writing and indicate an approximate date by which the agency will respond to the request, usually not more than 20 additional business days”   SEE EXPLANATION OF TIME LIMITS FOR RESPONDING TO A REQUEST.

Almost four months later and we still have not received anything.  Are they hiding something?

You can call Kingston Water Department Superintendent Judy Hansen and request that she release the requested documents immediately:

845/331-0175
jhansen@kingston-ny.gov

Contact Mayor Shayne Gallo, too, to alert him of the lack of response by the Water Department to the initial and ongoing FOIL request:
(845) 334-3902 

Citizens Encouraged to Organize Home “Break-Out Groups” with Friends to Discuss Kingston Comprehensive Plan Document.

By Rebecca Martin

Citizens of Kingston did an excellent job recently reaching out to their appointed officials requesting for a longer public comment period  regarding the current Kingston Comprehensive Planning process.  Because you did so, the length was extended for nearly two months which gives us all a good amount of time to read the document, organize, ask questions and submit good comments.

Citizens in our community have said that they would enjoy hosting a ‘break-out group’ to read and discuss sections of the Comprehensive Plan of interest at their homes with friends. It’s a great way to become more intimately involved with the text and to prepare comments with the support of your community.

To help you to be successful, KingstonCitizens.org reached out to those in the City of Kingston who have been intimately involved with the Comprehensive Plan and that are experts in their field.

You are encouraged to be in touch with any of those listed below. They might even be available to help guide your event in their specific area of expertise if schedules can come together.   We will continue to add any additional resources as we secure them.

We hope that Kingston citizens will follow through on this really good opportunity so to be better equipt to provide comments that will help make the current document an even better one.

Remember, all comments that you or your group generate must be submitted to City of Kingston Planning Director Suzanne Cahill at planning@kingston-ny.gov  or, you also have the option to read and submit them at the public hearing at Kingston City Hall on March 19th. You can also opt to do both.  

Make sure to inquire with the planning office how you or your group can follow-up on the comments that you’ve made to learn how they were implemented into the final Comprehensive Plan.

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VIEW  Final Draft, Kingston Comprehensive Plan

Please attend the Thursday, March 19th public presentation of the draft Master Plan at 6:30pm in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall. 420 Broadway.
A presentation will be followed by a public hearing. Your comments can be read and submitted this evening.

AVAILABLE EXPERTS
Please feel free to contact them with questions regarding their category.  We thank everyone on this list in advance for their willingness to make themselves available. 

1. Kristen Wilson, Transportation and Mobility (Page 38)
Contact
:  kew67@cornell.edu
Kirsten is Senior Resource Educator of the Healthy Communities Program for Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County

Kristen says: “The Complete Streets Advisory Council is seeking new members. If you are interested, you can find more information HERE.  You may download an application HERE.”

2. Tim Weidemann, Transportation and Mobility (Page 38)
Contacttim@rondoutconsulting.com
Tim is principal of Rondout Consulting and provides administrative support to the Kingston Land Trust. He is also co-chair of its Rail Trail Committee. 

3. Kitty McCullough, Historic Resources (Page 48) and Economic Development (Page 29).
Contact
luciachat@gmail.com
Kitty is a Development Consultant helping nonprofit and others pull strategic priorities from a “mountain of challenges to’ tool up’ to stability and sustainability.”

4. George Donskoj, Historic Resources (Page 48).
Contact
georgedonskoj@yahoo.com
George is the Chairman of Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission in Kingston.

5. Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Historic Resources (Page 48), Open Space Resources (26), Urban Agriculture. 
Contactjvberky@gmail.com
Jennifer is an urban planner and principal at HONE STRATEGIC in Kingston, NY. 

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid. Three Suggestions That Could Improve Kingston’s Water Infrastructure.

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By Rebecca Martin

I received an ARTICLE from a Syracuse paper that’s been forwarded around locally this week where Governor Cuomo was reported to say to Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner that the State has “no plans to send millions of dollars to Syracuse or other upstate cities to fix leaky aging water systems” among other things that were not so pleasant.

Given that one of those responsible for sharing the article was Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley – who appears to believe that there isn’t any other possible alternative to our water infrastructure woes other than to privatize them by handing over a portion of the repair work to a company like Niagara Bottling – I had to investigate.

Upon a little research, I have learned that Syracuse Mayor Miner and Governor Cuomo have a longstanding strained relationship. Minor was once appointed to the State’s Democratic Party as a co-chair by Cuomo in May of 2012 only to resign shortly after in April of 2014.   “The relationship between Cuomo and Miner has been strained at times, with the two butting heads on several issues including State aid to cities. Minor also authored an article in the New York Times (on February 13th, 2013) criticizing Cuomo’s proposal to let municipalities borrow money to off-set pension costs.”

Also of note, is that their relationship goes way back as Miner having worked for Cuomo’s father when he was Governor.

Why is this important?

The Daily Freeman did a piece on the article recently.  When asked my reaction to it, my first response was to say that the public should better understand the context in what they were reading.  Cuomo’s reported quotes seemed specific to the Mayor and Syracuse. Was there a conflict between the two elected officials or was this really a statement on policy regarding state funding for water infrastructure in communities like ours?

My initial observation appeared to be correct from what I learned about Governor Cuomo and Mayor Minor. There was more to this then what met the eye.

My choice of action? To place aside what appears to be a bullying attempt by the local proponents of the Niagara Bottling proposal – which is of no use to the public – and instead, continue my efforts to become better educated on the needs and solutions in Kingston and our region.

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Here are three suggestions worth time and consideration in Kingston.

1. The City of Kingston’s Water Department creates Capitol Improvement Plans (CIP) of only 4-5 years in length.

Those in favor of the Niagara Bottling proposal are hoping that they might be able to save us when Niagara PAYS ONLY SOME of a five year capitol improvement plan that totals an approximate $18 million dollars of Kingston’s water infrastructure costs (a jump of $2 million dollars since September of 2014).

But how about the rest?

Be reminded that the current improvements listed recently include some that are mandated by the DEC.  Niagara’s incremental influx over at least ten years (I am using a 10 year time period based on the number of years they would receive tax abatements if they were to be approved into the StartUp NY program) wouldn’t include improvements to the Cooper Lake Dam which is a part of this figure. A fix that our Water Department has known about since 2009 as I understand it. We are only addressing that now? How come?

What about long term planning? What exactly are we looking at here – and is there a  10, 20, 30 year plan (or whatever is the professional standard to have a long view) that allows us to look at our water infrastructure needs as an entire system?  It seems only logical that we would need a long range plan so that we can not only bite off small pieces along the way, but to also be in line for any future local, state and federal funding that becomes available.

After potentially selling 25% of our water resources to Niagara Bottling, what are we planning to sell to keep water prices low for users yet cover future infrastructure costs?  It appears to me that our elected and appointed officials are placing us in the precarious position to turn to privatization and that’s not acceptable.

2. Conservation pricing. The Kingston Water Department does the opposite and charges users more who use less and less who use more

Kingston’s current water rates are organized using an antiquated model by charging those who use the least the most and those who use the most the least. In this day and age, where water is scarce in many parts of the country, we should be applying something called ‘Conservation Pricing’ here at home. Not only are we encouraging users to not conserve today, we are also most probably missing out on large revenues over time that could be used to fix ailing water infrastructure. 

People like throwing around that we are ‘water rich’ in NYS.  But that doesn’t mean that we will always be, or that the 1% of water (which is the percentage that we can actually drink worldwide) will always be clean for us here.

When you have ample amounts of anything, you should not only be saving it but also mindful in setting a good example for our young community leaders who will one day be running our city to be thinking in these terms.

There is so much good reading out there on Conservation Water Pricing and I encourage you to do a little research to read up on it. We can do a longer piece on that at another time, too, if that would be helpful.

READ: EPA Water Sustainable Infrastructure Pricing Structures
READ: Conservation Pricing for Residential Water Supply (Florida)

3. Make the Water Department a part of City Government.

In 1895 when the Kingston Water Department was created it was made independent to keep politics out of water.

When the Kingston Water Board of Commissioners feels as though they have the exclusive right to sell our water and infrastructure to a company like Niagara Bottling – paid for by users and the public for over 100 years – how does that serve the publics interest today or for the future?

Additionally, our Mayor has the sole discretion to appoint members to the Water Board Commission. If the potential for politics doesn’t exist there,  I don’t know what does. Furthermore, our council has the authority to approve any water infrastructure improvements needed. Once more, the potential for politics.

In the Kingston City Charter, Water Commissioner terms are five years in length and it looks to be at a maximum. We haven’t been able to find any information in the Charter or in Water Department By-Laws (which apparently don’t exist) that allow for an extension of that five years and yet, the chair of the Water Board of Commissioners has served since 1981.  Furthermore, there isn’t a Water board Commissioner that has served for less then one term already.

What KingstonCitizens.org is going to explore this spring are steps to create a referendum in November 2015 that would bring an opportunity for the public to vote on whether or not it wants to keep the Water Department independent.  

If we have nothing really to gain for our Water Department to be independent outside of a decision to keep politics out of water from 135 year ago – long before there was bottled water companies and discussions to privatize water infrastructure – then we suggest it’s time for a change.

Insist on better municipal water management and a comprehensive study of Kingston’s water infrastructure needs. Don’t turn over 100 + years of a public investment over to private interests.  We insist on finding creative solutions to solve decades of deferred maintenance.

 

Further Reading:

Christie Signs Law Greenlighting Fast Track Sale of New Jersey Water Systems

Privatization of Public Water, Sewer Systems Could be Fast Tracked Under N.J. Bill

Now That’s Leadership. Kingston Common Council Passes Resolution for 80 Day Public Comment Period and Local Public Hearing.

KingstonCitizens.org would like to express its gratitude to the Kingston Common Council for passing a resolution this evening that will be sent to the Town of Ulster Town Board as Lead Agency in the Niagara Bottling SEQR Process ASAP:

1) For the Town of Ulster Town Board as Lead Agency to provide 80 days from the delivery of the Scoping Document to the Town of Ulster from Niagara Bottling’s consultant the Chazen Companies for public input during the public portion of the Scoping Document.

2) Because the proposed project is complex and multi-faceted in nature and has the potential to impact multiple communities and environmental resources, the City of Kingston as both an Interested and Involved Agency requests that the Town of Ulster Town Board as Lead Agency host a public hearing on the Scoping Document at Kingston City Hall in the City of Kingston in collaboration with Kingston’s Common Council towards the end of Public Scoping.

A motion was made by Ward 5 Alderman Bill Carey. It was seconded by Ward 9 Alderwoman Deb Brown and passed 8 – 1. The decision was made in caucus this evening, where Brian Seche who was the one ‘no’ vote was not in attendance.

Other interested and involved agencies can do the same. Protect the interests of your public and support their request.

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READ3 Kingston lawmakers join effort to block tax breaks for Niagara Bottling; council calls for 80-day comment period

Kingston’s Water Board of Commissioners: A New Appointment Starting June 1st, 2015

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By Rebecca Martin

Recently, we acquired the appointments of the current Water Board of Commissioners and learned that one of their terms expires on May 31st, 2015.

Commissioner Al Radel who has served since 2000. A total of 15 years. We would personally like to thank him for his time on the Water Board.

The Mayor appoints members to the commission, and we recommend that the city do a good search well in advance to find a new professional for the Water Board. Environmentalists, Hydrologists, Engineers, Economics.  New blood.

Any city resident can apply. To learn more, please contact Mayor Shayne Gallo at sgallo@kingston-ny.gov with your request.

INVOLVED & INTERESTED AGENCIES in SEQR: Citizens Request a Longer Public Comment Period.

the-seqr-process

By Rebecca Martin

KingstonCitizens.org is expecting Niagara Bottling Company to deliver their Scoping Document (in SEQRA) any day now.

For many months, citizens have petitioned the Town of Ulster as Lead Agency for ac longer public comment period (of at least 60 days) with the opportunity to host a public hearing in each impacted municipality (Kingston/Woodstock/Saugerties).  Hundreds of letters were sent to the Town of Ulster Town Board and Supervisor James Quigley.

Lead Agency does not have to honor this request and so far, they have not.

Today, we are asking that all INVOLVED AND INTERESTED AGENCIES in SEQR to please consider submitting a letter to the Town of Ulster Town Board and Supervisor James Quigley requesting the following:

1. To provide a minimum of 60 days for public input during the public portion of the Scoping Process (some organizations might request longer, given their meeting cycle. See City of Kingston Matt Dunn’s request where they ask for 78 days).

2. Because the proposed project is complex and multi-faceted one that has the potential to impact multiple communities and environmental resources, we ask that the Town of Ulster Town Board as Lead Agency consider more than one public hearing on the Scoping Document to include locations in Kingston, Woodstock and Saugerties. Additional time and hearing locations in communities that will be potentially impacted would allow for greater public participation and input on the proposed environmental review laid out in the applicants Draft Scope.

We wish to thank those who have already done so, including SCENIC HUDSON and Matt Dunn, Ward 1 Alderman of the City of Kingston.

 

INVOLVED AGENCIES

Ulster County Department of Health
Ulster County Department of Public Works Highway & Bridges Division
City of Kingston Water Board
US Army Corps of Engineers
NYS DEC
NYS DEP
NYS Department of Health (Water)
Town of Ulster Sewer Deparment
Town of Ulster Water Department
Town of Ulster Highway Department
NYS DOT
Ulster County Industrial Development Agency

INTERESTED AGENCIES

Town of Ulster Planning Board
Ulster County Planning Board
Ulster County Community College
Town of Woodstock, NY
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
City of Kingston, NY
Town of Saugerties, NY
Village of Saugerties, NY
Town of Esopus, NY
Town of Kingston, NY

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Niagara Bottling States Town of Ulster Site “Worth Fighting For.” Coalition Empowered by Thousands of Voters Prepared to Fight Back. New Petition is Released.

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SIGN THE PETITION

Kingston, NY. – A coalition of organizations and communities from Ulster County and New York State have prepared A NEW PETITION to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Kenneth Adams, President of Empire State Development Corp and Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of SUNY NY demanding that the controversial Niagara Bottling Company be denied Start-Up NY tax abatements through the program. The group lists seven reasons why such a decision to make the award at this time could ‘confuse the public and inappropriately influence impartial SEQRA evaluation” in the petition released today that is signed by over a dozen organizations and others.

In an article by Country Wisdom News dated February 1st, 2015, a spokesperson for the Chazen Companies, Niagara’s engineering consultant, is quoted stating:  “Niagara seems to feel this is a good site (Town of Ulster) and one worth fighting for. They cam back and asks us to go ahead and prepare scoping documents. After the town approves those, the public comment can begin. It’s still early in a long process.”

“If the Niagara Bottling Company is awarded public funds or tax abatements, our coalition is currently empowered by thousands of voters – and this number will certainly grow – to fight back.” the rapidly growing Coalition states in its petition.

Aidan Ferris, President of the SUNY Ulster Environmental Club agrees that Niagara’s business does not meet Start-Up NY requirements regarding the college mission.  SUNY Ulster students and faculty have voiced opposition recently with a petition requesting that SUNY Ulster “rescind their proposed partnership with Niagara Bottling Company” signed by over 1300 people.

“SUNY Ulster is in the process of revamping the mission statement of our school to include Accountability and Sustainability.  Being responsible to our environment, the community and to each other for the careful use of resources by making data-driven decisions that accomplish the completion of College goals that support the College mission.” Ferris says. “Clearly the Niagara Bottling proposal is in complete contradiction with all the amazing actions our school has taken to lower its impact on the environment. The administration of our school needs to see that in order to be truly sustainable, we need to not only be economically sustainable, but culturally sustainable, and environmentally sustainable too;  it doesn’t appear that the partnership with Niagara would be any of the three”

The proposed Niagara Bottling 414,800 square-foot bottling facility would be a new build adjacent to theTech City campus in the Town of Ulster. It would process up to 1.75 million gallons per day (GPD) of water from the City of Kingston’s water supply at Cooper Lake located in Woodstock, using over 25% of its capacity, with plans to truck in much more than that from springs in surrounding communities. The facility will create bottles on site with small plastic PET pellets and dump 342,500 GPD of wastewater into the Esopus Creek that leads to the Hudson River. The Group’s effort is to build a transparent, participatory process based on the facts about this project, having learned that the proposal is being promoted without adequate analysis of its potential economic and environmental impacts.  A “Positive Declaration” has been determined and a full public scoping process in the State Quality Review (SEQR) process from the Town of Ulster as Lead Agency is now currently underway.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin at rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

VIDEO: Water Board Meeting 12/10/14

By Rebecca Martin

We have been a bit backlogged with work, and are just getting the December 10th Water Board meeting up that touches upon important infrastructure work that is upcoming.

Please read:

Water Board Minutes from 12/10/14

Thanks.

Kingston Water Board Meeting:  Part 1

0:10 – 0:21
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved on a motion made by Commissioner Niedzielski and seconded by Commissioner Croswell. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

0:23 – 0:35
Bills in the amount of $39,320.52 dated 11/19/14; $28,500.56 dated 11/26/14; $67,683.25 dated 12/3/14; and $401,459.54 dated 12/10/14 were ordered paid as audited on a motion by Commissioner McSpirit and seconded by Commissioner Croswell. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

0:39 – 2:10
The Board discussed the Cooper Lake Dam Project. Borings are scheduled to begin next week. A 30% design is expected to be completed in March, 2015.

2:19 – 7:12
A motion authorizing the purchase of a new John Deere Backhoe at an approximate cost of $130,000 was made by Commissioner Niedzieski and seconded by Commissioner McSpirit. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

7:14 – 43:02
The 2015 Proposed Budget was discussed by the Board. A motion was made by Commissioner McSpirit and seconded by Commissioner Niedzielski to authorize the transfer of up to $235,000, if necessary, from the Department’s Capital Account to the Department’s Checking Account to be used in the 2015 Operating Budget. Motion carried by unanimous vote. A motion adopting the proposed 2015 Budget as amended was made by Commissioner Croswell and seconded by Commissioner McSpirit. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

43:10 – 57:58
A motion was made by Commissioner McSpirit and seconded by Commissioner Niedzielski to increase the deposit for the 3 inch Hydrant Meter to $5,000 and for the 5/8 inch Hydrant Meter to $1,000. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

 

Kingston Water Board Meeting: Part 2

0:00 – 5:12
The Board discussed the Phase 1B Filter Renovation Project. The Board was informed that the project is on schedule. Project should be done by July.

5:13 – 11:20
The Board discussed the request from Tech City to supply one of its buildings with water from the Town of Ulster. Superintendent Hansen does not think that the Water Department should do it and  will contact Tech City about the request.  

11:26 – 24-37
A motion authorizing a contract with Prowler for Leak Detection at a cost not to exceed $12,000 was made by Commissioner McSpirit and seconded by Commissioner Niedzielski. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Commissioner Niedzielski and seconded by Commissioner McSpirit authorizing the payment of a meter product shipment later this month after its arrival. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

A motion to move into Executive Session was made by Commissioner Croswell and seconded by Commissioner McSpirit at 4:30 pm. A motion to come out of Executive Session was made by Commissioner Niedzielski and seconded by Commissioner Croswell at 5:52 pm. Motions carried by unanimous vote.

The Superintendent’s Report was approved on a motion by Commissioner Croswell and seconded by Commissioner Niedzielski. Motion carried by unanimous vote.

VIDEO: Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting 1/22/15

12:09 – 13:08    Rebecca Martin, Kingston NY
Has the ToU received the draft scoping document from The Chazen Companies and if not,  will the Town Board extend the projected publication date of the draft scoping document by Town Board resolution as protocol based on the SEQR TIMELINE initiated by the Town of Ulster as Lead Agency?

13:20 –  15:38   David Bruner, Kingston NY
“It Could very well be said that this water belongs to God, in whatever form he appears to you.”  VIEW speech text.

15:44 – 16:24     Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Kingston NY
Have you received any other communications from The Chazen Companies or Niagara outside of the draft scoping document?

16:27 – 17:25    Elizabeth Simonson, Lake Hill, NY
Knowing that you anticipated a copy of the draft scoping document today, has anyone from the Town Board or the Supervisor’s (Deputy) office contacted or had direct communication with Chazen about when they can expect to get a copy of the document?

 

WHAT TO EXPECT: Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting Thursday, 1/22/15 at 7:00pm

By Rebecca Martin

The Town of Ulster (ToU) Town Board will meet on Thursday, January 22nd at 7:00pm.

It was REPORTED that the new deadline for the Chazen Companies to submit a draft scoping document for Niagara was to occur on 1/22/15 which is tomorrow. Although at the last ToU Town Board Meeting Supervisor Quigley stated “We have no notice from Chazen of a delivery date of the scoping document” (VIEW the recorded meeting that starts at 30:15) the public anticipates tomorrow as a deadline as there hasn’t been any formal communication otherwise.

The ToU has released tomorrow evenings AGENDA where nothing regarding Niagara is noted. That doesn’t mean that it will not be added sometime tomorrow, and we will keep you updated.

According to the SEQR TIMELINE  that the Town of Ulster posted on their website, it states that the ‘Projected publication date of the draft scoping document‘ was to be December 22nd and that the date “May be extended by Town Board Resolution“.  That did not occur last month.  We are hoping to learn the Board’s course of action tomorrow evening in this regard.

As a reminder, the public may speak at the front of the meeting on matters that are on the agenda, and then allotted time at the end of the meeting to speak on anything else. If Niagara is not on the agenda, be prepared to step up to the podium when Supervisor Quigley invites the public to address the board later in the evening. Their meetings run on time, and are brief – so if you intend to come, place be prompt.

 

WHAT TO REQUEST?   A draft scoping document IS submitted:

1. 60 Day Public Comment Period

Last December, KingstonCitizens.org generated a letter to the Town of Ulster as lead agency requesting a total of 60 days for public input during the public portion of the scoping process. This was due in part to the process start date being December 22nd – January 22nd and in the midst of three major holidays.

As the date was reported to be moved to January 22nd, giving The Chazen Company a total of 60 days to deliver their scoping document.

The public, in turn, wishes for the same courtesy.

In addition, for as long as it takes The Chazen Companies to deliver their draft, the public will request the same amount of time.

 

2. Additional Hearings/Locations to Allow Public Input on Draft Scope

Because the proposed project is a complex and multifaceted one that has the potential to impact multiple communities and environmental resources, the public should ask the Town of Ulster to consider more than one public hearing on the scoping document to include locations in Kingston, Woodstock and Saugerties. Additional time and hearing locations in communities that will be potentially impacted would allow for greater public participation and input on the proposed environmental review laid out in the applicant’s draft scope.

FOLLOW:  SEQR Pos Dec Review Timeline on Facebook.

WHAT TO REQUEST?   If a draft scoping document IS NOT submitted:

1. That the Town Board Initiate and Pass a Resolution on Submission of Draft Scoping Document for the Amended SEQR Timeline.

In the SEQR Timeline that the ToU posted on their website, it states that the ‘Projected publication date of the draft scoping document‘ was to be December 22nd and that the date “May be extended by Town Board Resolution“.  The Town Board did not do so to extend the change in December to January. Request that the ToU be transparent and follow their own protocol so that the public has the information that it needs to continue to track this process.

BE PREPARED. 

We ask that all residents prepare a statement in advance to be no more than 3 minutes in length and to please show respect to municipalities where you are a visitor.

Town of Ulster meetings are generally audio taped, however we will be on hand to to film the event thanks to Clark Richters of Kingston News.

If you have any questions, please contact me at: rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

Thank you.

 

 

TOWN OF ULSTER
TOWN BOARD

WHAT
Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting

WHEN
Thursday, January 22nd, 2014
7:00pm

WHERE
Town of Ulster Town Hall
1 Town Hall Road
Lake Katrine, NY

AGENDA
Click on this LINK 

VIDEO/AUDIO: Kingston Water Board and “The Same Boat”

By Rebecca Martin

VIDEO:

Kingston Water Board Meeting
Wednesday, 1/14/15

:50 – 8:34
Resolution adopting organizational rules of Board of Water Commissioner Meetings
This is essentially  New York State Open Meetings Law.

8:42 – 14:35
Cooper Lake Dam Project

*The Kingston Water Board meeting was longer in length and we will share the remainder of the meeting shortly. Their phase 1B is especially important to hear.

 

AUDIO:

Have a listen to “The Same Boat” hosted by Rachel Marco-Havens. With guests Rebecca Martin and Jennifer Schwartz Berky (KingstonCitizens.org), Kevin Smith (Woodstock Land Conservancy) and Aidan Ferris (SUNY Ulster Environmental Club).

LISTEN