Support the Kingston Common Council on December 2nd.

The Kingston Common Council will discuss allocating $25,000 for their own municipal lawyer. 

On several occasions, the City of Kingston's Corporation Council - hired to represent the City as a whole - has seemingly worked against the Kingston Common Council. Most recently regarding the Niagara Bottling Company and the City being included as an 'Involved' agency in SEQR.

Members of the Kingston Common Council have decided that it was in the publics best interest for a municipal lawyer to work specifically with the Council on matters when the Corporation Council does not cooperate.

With at least a year left under the current administration, it is unfortunate that the council is forced to go this route - but it's important that they do. If you agree, please come to the Kingston Common Council meeting on Tuesday, December 2nd in support of their efforts.Kingston citizens, show your support with the Kingston Common Council allocating  $25,000 budget line in the 2014 budget to hire a separate municipal lawyer to represent our Common Council whenever deemed necessary. Public comment starts shortly after the meeting begins at 7:30pm. 

If you are not able to attend the meeting, please consider sending this letter or one of your own via email to:

SUBJECT: I support the Kingston Common Council Decision to Legal Representation.

ToJames Noble, Alderman-at-large commoncouncil@kingston-ny.gov
CCMatt Dunn, Majority Leader  
ward1@kingston-ny.gov
Deb Brown, Minority Leader 
ward9@kingston-ny.gov
Mayor Shayne Gallo 
sgallo@kingston-ny.gov

My name is xxx and I am a Kingston City Resident residing on xxxx.

I am writing in support of the Kingston Common Council placing $25,000 in the 2014 City Budget towards a municipal lawyer that specifically responds to the needs of the Council whenever they deem it necessary throughout the budgeted year.

Thank you.

Kingston Water Department Posts New Engineering Documents

By Rebecca Martin

There are new engineering documents now available on the City of Kingston Water Department site.

The first is one many have been waiting to view. It is the CDM Smith 'Niagara Water Bottling Plant Demand Analysis Results' that the Kingston Water Board had had created to explore Niagara's 1 million and 1.75 million GPD water request.

VIEW CDM SMITH's Engineering Analysis

The second is a recent report created by Schnabel Engineering of the Cooper Lake Dam & West Dike preliminary Engineering Phase 1.

VIEW SCHNABEL ENGINEERING's Technical Memorandum

KingstonCitizens.org Offers Free Screenings of the Documentary TAPPED in December.

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VIEW Kingston "Tapped" Facebook Event

VIEW Woodstock "Tapped" Facebook Event

VIEW Saugerties "Tapped" Facebook Event

 

 

KingstonCitizens.org hosts free movie screenings of "Tapped" in Kingston, Woodstock & Saugerties“Tapped” examines the bottled water industry and its long-term social, economic and ecological effects 

Kingston, NY - KingstonCitizens.org with the support of the Woodstock Land Conservancy, Riverkeeper and Esopus Creek Conservancy is proud to sponsor free screenings of the film "Tapped" throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region. The first of three showings in this ongoing film series will be held in December in Kingston, Woodstock and Saugerties.

Niagara Bottling Company, a national water bottling plant based in California, wants to establish a plant in the Town of Ulster. It seeks to purchase 1.75 million gallons of water per day from Cooper Lake, Kingston's municipal water source, and plans to utilize support from the Start-Up NY Program that gives 10 years of tax abatements to qualifying companies.

Tapped focuses on industry giants PepsiCo and Nestle. The film documents the filmmakers’ visits to a town containing a Nestle factory as well as tests run on the bottles the company uses for its products. These test results showed "several potentially harmful chemicals, some known as carcinogens." The documentary also focuses on the fraction of bottles that is recycled, noting that "forty percent of bottled water is really just filtered tap water, and every day we throw away 30 million single-served bottles of water."

All events are free and open to all. NO TICKETS ARE NECESSARY. The public will be met by representatives of KingstonCitizens.org to answer any questions regarding the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project in Ulster County.

KingstonCitizens.org extends a very special thank you to all venue sponsors: BSP (Kingston), The Bearsville Theater (Woodstock) and The Inquiring Mind Bookstore and Cafe (Saugerties).

If your school or organization would like to host a screening, please contact Rachel Marco-Havens for more information at rachel@kingstoncitizens.org

“Tapped” Film Series Screening Dates and Locations:

WOODSTOCK
Sunday, December 7th
12:00pm - 3:00pm
Bearsville Theater
291 Tinker Street, Woodstock NY  12498

(Private Event) Friday, December 12th
10:00am - 11:30am
Woodstock Day School Assembly
1430 Glasco Turnpike, Saugerties NY 12477

SAUGERTIES
Friday, December 12th
6:30pm - 8:30pm
The Inquiring Mind Bookstore
65 Partition Street, Saugerties NY  12477

KINGSTON
Sunday, December 14th
3:00pm - 6:00pm
BSP
323 Wall Street, Kingston NY  12401

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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.

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   Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect the environmental, recreational and commercial integrity of the Hudson River and its tributaries, and to safeguard the drinking water of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents.

About Esopus Creek Conservancy  

  • is to conserve significant natural landscapes
  • in the lower Esopus Creek watershed
  • and in the Saugerties area
  • by protecting the rural character of the environment,
  • by conserving and protecting natural habitats,
  • by promoting biodiversity, and
  • by sharing an appreciation of our natural resources with the community through public outreach, education and advocacy.

KingstonCitizens.org Hosts Public Educational Forum “Bottled Water: Bad for People and the Environment” with Food & Water Watch.

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KingstonCitizens.org to host a public educational forum and discussion called “Bottled Water: Bad for the People and the Environment” on Thursday, December 4th at the Kingston Public Library 55 Franklin Street, in Kingston NY from 6:00pm – 8:00pm Guest panelist will be Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Regional Director of Food and Water Watch (Washington, DC).

Kingston, NY –  In September, the citizens of Kingston became aware of a proposed diversion of up to 1.75 million gallons per day of their municipal water supply to the Town of Ulster. The proposal to sell this water would support the profit-making interests of Niagara Water Bottling Company, a California company that projects in return 100 or so jobs that pay below industry standards. They are also expected to seek the maximum tax exemptions, potentially shifting the burden to residents and local business as part of Start-Up NY and other public funding sources.  Since that time, KingstonCitizens.org has led a concerted effort to understand the details of this proposal that has involved the Kingston community as well as residents in surrounding communities who would also be impacted.

KingstonCitizens.org is pleased to present a public educational forum titled “Bottled Water: Bad for the People and the Environment” on, Thursday, December 4th 2014 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Kingston Public Library located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston, NY.  All are invited to attend.

Guest panelist will be Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Regional Director of Food and Water Watch (Washington, DC).

The evening will be moderated by KingstonCitizens.org’s Policy and Planning Director Jennifer Schwartz Berky.

This event will be filmed by Clark Richters of Kingston News.

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

###

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.

About Alex Beauchamp, Food and Water Watch
Alex Beauchamp is the Northeast Region Director at Food & Water Watch. Based in the Brooklyn office, Alex oversees all organizing efforts in New York and the Northeast. Alex has worked on issues related to fracking, factory farms, genetic engineering, and water privatization at Food & Water Watch since 2009. His background is in legislative campaigning, and community and electoral organizing. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Alex worked for Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., where he worked on several campaigns including organizing support for renewable energy in Colorado, fundraising, and running get-out-the-vote operations. Alex graduated from Carleton College with a degree in political science. He can be reached at abeauchamp(at)fwwatch(org).

About Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Planning and Policy Director – KingstonCitizens.org:  Jennifer Schwartz Berky, the evening’s moderator, has over 25 twenty years of experience in the fields of architecture, conservation, economic development, and urban planning in the non-profit, government, academic and private sectors. Prior to launching Hone Strategic, she served as Deputy Director of Ulster County Planning for over seven years, where she was the lead researcher and liaison to the Ulster County Charter Commission. Before moving to Ulster County, she worked in Washington, DC at the World Bank and Urban Institute, at the University of Rome (Italy) and as a project manager of design and construction for New York City’s major cultural institutions. Berky has lived for extended periods in Argentina, Chile, France, Israel, Italy, and Spain. She earned a B.A. in Art History from SUNY Stony Brook and Masters’ degrees in Urban Planning (M.Phil.) and Real Estate Development (M.S.) at Columbia University, where she is also currently completing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning on the subject of environmental economics.

KingstonCitizens.org: Regional Community Accomplishments on the Proposed Niagara Bottling Project

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By Rebecca Martin

Last night was in essence the conclusion of many months of discussion regarding Lead Agency and  the proposed Niagara Bottling project. It has been a deeply intense time period for many hard working people who are dedicated in making this a sound process. Today starts a brand new phase with our collective group of many talented and tenacious citizens, organizations and elected officials.

It's important that we take a moment to acknowledge and to thank all of those who we have had the good fortune to work and be guided by. In a few short weeks, collectively Riverkeeper, The Woodstock Land Conservancy, the Esopus Creek Conservancy,  Save Cooper Lake, the Kingston Common Council, Town of Woodstock, Food and Water Watch and hundreds of residents of the affected communities have succeeded in placing this proposal under a great deal of public scrutiny.   Thank you.

Much gratitude must also be given to the team that has assembled under the KingstonCitizens.org umbrella.  In essence, it is a dream to see this platform work as it was intended to do and on a most critical issue.  Thank you Kitty McCullough, Debra Bresnan, Karin Wolf, Rachel Marco-Havens and Elizabeth Littleton and Beth Bengston.

To Jennifer Schwartz Berky who is one of Kingston's treasures. A very generous soul, a dear friend, a true professional and spectacular partner to have.   To my co-chair, Heather Schwegler  who is savvy, smart and keeps us all in good humor.

###

Your involvement has made many positive outcomes possible. Some of them include:

~ The City of Kingston Common Council has been incredibly supportive of the public's request by voting unanimously in favor of three resolutions requesting that the DEC be Lead Agency of the Niagara Proposal and that the CoK be added as Involved Agency in the SEQR process.

~ The early commissioning of the Carpenter Report thanks to the Woodstock Land Conservancy and Riverkeeper has begun to identify and document a sampling of the numerous potential impacts that must be considered as part of the scoping process. (More on this shortly)

~ The Town of Ulster issued a Positive Declaration on the Niagara Proposal. This was not at all a foregone conclusion in September and October.

~ The Town of Ulster determining to require a full public scoping process of the proposed action ensuring that the public and all interested and affected parties, communities and agencies have the opportunity to contribute to the scope of the EIS.   This is not required to do under SEQRA regs, this is a big win for the public and a direct result of the full-court press by the public, grass-roots community groups, elected officials and affiliated organizations.

~ The applicant amending the proposed action once to include a much wider geographic scope and add additional Interested and Involved Agencies including NYC DEP and the Mink Hollow brook and Beaverkill, as well as the Cooper Lake Reservoir and KWD supply and distribution system.

~ NYS DEC pledging to play a proactive role in the SEQRA process.

~ NYS DEC informing the TOU that it must require the applicant to expand the scope of action to include the Whole Action, and avoid Segmentation per SEQRA, with multiple additional items that must be analyzed.

~ NYC DEP adding specific items that the Town of Ulster must require the applicant to address.

Onward!

 

VIDEO: Town of Ulster Town Board Defeats Resolution of City of Kingston and Town of Woodstock as Involved Agencies. Passes Resolution Clearing ToU as Lead Agency and Positive Declaration.

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By Rebecca Martin

* Because we want to get this information out to the public ASAP, we are still extracting important details from the video and of documents pertaining to  SEQR in the proposed Niagara Bottling Project over the next few days.  Please check back daily on this post as we do so and thank you.

Tonight at the Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting, the Town Board under the leadership of Supervisor James Quigley passed several resolutions that included a Resolution for the City of Kingston and Town of Woodstock to become Involved Agencies (Denied Unanimously, though with some hesitation),  2) A resolution clearing Lead Agency to construct a water bottle facility. (Resolution passed unanimously.) 3) A resolution declaring a positive SEQR declaration (passed unanimously).

The public comment was incredibly rich. Take a moment and review it below.

I ask that the citizens not be discouraged and to continue to be diligent.. There is a great deal underway to protect our interests. As the Town of Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy Wilber states in his public comment "There are citizens that transcend the borders...that are going to involve themselves. We would rather be inside the tent with you spitting out than outside the tent spitting in. But we will be an involved party....I just hope that we won't have to dwell on legalisms as neighboring towns and as people and that share a very neutral concern for the future of our water sources of the area."

We are united and committed in seeing our region prosper and in working together to find alternative solutions in addressing Kingston's aging infrastructure.

Special thanks to Clark Richter of Kingston News for filming this evening.

 

Initial Public Comments

1:26 - 4:41
Kevin Smith, Chairman of the Woodstock Land Conservancy

4:45 - 6:11
Dennis Doyle, Ulster County Planning Board

6:20 - 8:05
Kate Hudson, Riverkeeper

8:14 - 11:57
Rebecca Martin, Kingston, NY
READ REBECCA'S SPEECH

12:00 -  15:44
Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Kingston, NY

15:55 - 18:37
Rev. Betsy Stang, The Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources

18:47 - 22:13
Kitty McCullough, Kingston, NY

22:19 - 25:21
Rachel Marco-Havens, KingstonCitizens.org
READ RACHEL'S SPEECH

25:30 - 28:45
Robert Barton, Town of Ulster

28:58 - 31:58
Donald Gregorius, UC Legislator

31:57 - 35:39
Jeremy Wilber, Town of Woodstock Supervisor

35:55 - 39:39
Henrietta Wise, Olivebridge, NY

 

On Niagara Bottling Company Resolutions

0:10 - 1:08
Resolution including City of Kingston and Town of Woodstock as Involved Agency
Resolution defeated unanimously (though with hesitation)

1:12 - 1:41
Resolution clearing Lead Agency to construct a water bottle facility.
Resolution passed unanimously

1:42 - 2:29
Resolution declaring a positive SEQR declaration
"I would the people in the audience to know the that the town board is dedicating itself to an open and public process...as requested."  - Supervisor James Quigley
Resolution passed unanimously

Closing Public Comments

2:46 - 5:21
Robert Barton, Town of Ulster

5:28 - 7:31
Jeremy Wilber, Town of Woodstock Supervisor

7:37 - 10:14
Rachel Marco-Havens, KingstonCitizens.org

10:23 - 11:27
Donald Gregorius, UC Legislator

11:35 - 13:40
Jennifer Schwartz Berky, KingstonCitizens.org

13:47 - 16:34
Kevin Smith, Chairman of the Woodstock Land Conservancy

16:43 - 20:09
Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
READ REBECCA'S SPEECH

20:24 - 21:24
Mike Berardi, Town of Ulster

 

The Wittenberg Center: “Positive Declaration in SEQR Essential For Potential Level One Archeological Sites.”

"We are writing concerning the proposed Niagra Bottling Plant SEQR review process. We are asking for a positive declaration on the following grounds. We strongly believe that both Cooper Lake and the location of the proposed Niagara plant are potential Level One archeological sites.

We are writing concerning the proposed Niagra Bottling Plant SEQR review process. We are asking for a positive declaration on the following grounds. We strongly believe that both Cooper Lake and the location of the proposed Niagara plant are potential Level One archeological sites."
                   - Rev. Betsy Stang and Rev. Jim Davis, the Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources

 

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Click on image to download the entire letter.

Mayor Shayne Gallo this Morning on Kingston Community Radio.

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By Rebecca Martin

This morning, Mayor Shayne Gallo was live on Kingston Community Radio where he discussed his point-of-view regarding the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project. It begins at 1:36:09.

"I don't have enough, and the majority of Kingston residents and business/water users don't have enough information to say 'yay' or 'nay'."
Since September, KingstonCitizens.org has provided the community with documentation, expert evaluation and videos of almost every significant meeting to expose a great deal of information. It is one of the key reasons, in fact, that the city currently has what it does in order to have crafted several resolutions in support of the DEC being Lead Agency and the CoK being named an Involved Agency.  In addition, the work that has been forged through a steady citizen effort is perhaps would be one of the main reasons a Positive Declaration (pos dec) will be determined. Without a pos dec, the public wouldn't have any of the information the Mayor claims it needs. 

"There's transparency now."
There is transparency now, thanks to the citizen volunteers working diligently to provide factual information (or to show in some cases the lack thereof).

"Quite frankly, I don't care about the non-residents."
He most certainly should given that the sale of Kingston's water impacts the entire region. The amount of water Niagara is asking for, too, is an exorbitant amount even for them.  Everyone should be watching this closely, as how this process is handled will set a precedent on how national/international water bottling companies proceed in NY State. 

"I've only gotten five phone calls, including the individual who is spearheading the opposition against the project."
Is that so?  Kingston citizens. Let the Mayor know what you think either way.  Let it also be known that KingstonCitizens.org is not spearheading 'opposition'.  All along, it has been our goal to work to bring information out to the public so that the public has an understanding and a voice in the matter.  If there is opposition, it's because the public isn't comfortable with the way this process has been organized thus far.  Elected officials involved need to take responsibility here.

In the meantime, give him a buzz.  845/334-3902. 

"There is no reason why the SEQR process can't work."
He's right. But in order for that to occur, a positive declaration must be determined, a coordinated review must take place and the Action must not be segmented. 

Mayor Gallo - "It's the construction, it's a 53 million dollar installation of basically a water work that will provide water, ok, for their product. So with all due respect Walter (the radio host) a project that size, OK...."

Walter (Radio Host) - "The City, the water department is going to spend $53 million dollars."

MG - "No, here's the thing - you see you're also not informed properly first of all."

W - "I'm  just asking the question."

MG - "The water department stepped back, the Town of Ulster with Niagara they are going to have to spend the money for the SEQR process. The COK is not spending a dime. We're not an involved agency....here's how it works. If we were involved in the design, the construction and the funding. If we had discretion over any one of those things with this project then we'd be the Involved Agency. But we don't!"

This all begins at 1:38:59.  The Mayor speaks about there being a "53 million dollar installation of basically a water work that will provide water, OK, for their project."  In other words, the estimated cost of the facility is $53 million dollars based on the Environmental Assessment Form crafted by Niagara and their consultant the Chazen Companies and a consolidated grant application that Niagara Bottling Company submitted through the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Council (in fact, here they are seeking more public funding for the build of the plant - on top of the tax abatements they would hope to receive through Start-Up NY. The grant funding will be determined by December 10th).  He also insinuates that the City of Kingston won't 'pay a dime' for the SEQR process which is again is true. The applicant always pays for all of the associated environmental study costs. But this isn't news.

According to the WILL SERVE  letter issued by the Kingston Water Department, it is determined that in order to provide the Niagara Bottling Company with their water request, "the preliminary estimate for the cost of the work, without a geotechnical investigation and assuming minimal rock removal, is approximately $2 million dollars".

What does that mean? The Kingston Water Department has clearly stated here that additional improvements to the Kingston Water Department water distribution system would be necessary.  If the Niagara Bottling project is approved, the City will need the assent of the City of Kingston Common Council in order to make those improvements. See Kingston Charter C11-4  making the City of Kingston an INVOLVED AGENCY. 

All of this begs the question. Who is the one that is misinformed?  Citizens, it most certainly is not you.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting Thursday, 11/20/14 at 7:00pm

By Rebecca Martin

The Town of Ulster Town Board will meet on Thursday, November 20th at 7:00pm.   Scheduled to occur that evening is the Town of Ulster Town Board to give final approval of itself as being "Lead Agency" in the proposed Niagara Bottling Company SEQR process.

The public is invited. Public comment on any matters will be made available following “Old Business” at the end of the evening. We expect that to occur between 8:00pm – 8:30pm, though it may be later.   Please see Supervisor James Quigleys' note below.
We ask that all residents prepare a statement in advance to be no more than 3 minutes in length. Please show respect to municipalities that you are visiting.

Here are several posts to research that will help you to create your 3 minute speech so to hit key points that evening.

On a Positive Declaration in SEQR.
LINK1   LINK2  

Why the City of Kingston should be an Involved Agency.
LINK1   LINK2

Insightful letter to the DEC from Town of Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy Wilber.
LINK

Their meetings are always audio taped by the Town and 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
1 Town Hall Road
Lake Katrine, NY

WHEN
Thursday, November 20th, 2014
7:00pm

WHERE
Town of Ulster Town Hall

AGENDA
Click on this LINK

 

As per Supervisor James Quigley regarding this month's meeting:

"A DRAFT AGENDA will be posted Tuesday morning (we have linked it above) and is subject to change. There are no items currently listed on the Agenda related to Niagara Bottling. I am awaiting the Resolutions from Counsel prior to place the item on the Agenda. A Revised Agenda will be posted as soon as possible. There are two opportunities for the Public to speak during the meeting. In the beginning Statements may be made on Agenda Items. At the end of the meeting is Public Comment for any and all topics. Remember these are times for the Public to make statements to the Board not enter into a debate with the Town Board.  Anyone who wishes will be able to address the Board during these periods. Comments are limited to three minutes per speaker and there is no yielding time to other speakers."

 

WATCH: “Water Infrastructure Debate in the Hudson Valley” on NYNOW (PBS).

Watch the story above beginning at 16:11.

'Do we have the surplus water to sell and if we do, is it in our best interest?'

That's the question the Kingston Water Department Superintendent Judith Hansen is asking these days.

Nearby Cooper Lake holds over a billion gallons of water and is the main source of drinking water for the nearby city. Recently, the body of water has drawn attention from the California-based Niagara Bottling company which would like to tap into the natural resource so they can package and sell the water all over the country.

The money the company would pay the water department would be significant and would help them replace their aging infrastructure, but some local residents are concerned that it may be a risky proposition.

Our Jenna Flanagan has the story this week in our monthly Innovation Trail report.

VISIT: NYNOW Website

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The Future of Kingston’s Water Supply Must Not Be Left in the Hands of the Town of Ulster.

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In September, the citizens of Kingston became aware of a proposed diversion of up to 1.75 million gallons per day of their municipal water supply to the Town of Ulster. The proposal to sell this water would support the profit-making interests of Niagara Water Bottling Company, a California company that projects in return 100 or so jobs that pay below industry standards. They are also expected to seek the maximum tax exemptions, potentially shifting the burden to residents and local business.  Since that time, KingstonCitizens.org has led a concerted effort to understand the details of this proposal that has involved the Kingston community as well as residents in surrounding communities who would also be affected.

The future of the water supply for residents of Kingston must not be left in the hands of the Town of Ulster, "from where the water does not come and for whom it was not intended."  Niagara Bottling Company filed an incomplete Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) to the State, which was approved by both the Town of Ulster’s Planning Board and its Town Board. The Town of Ulster has shown Kingston and neighboring communities good reason to be concerned by their insistence to take the role of Lead Agency in the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) process: as Lead Agency, they would assume the responsibility to determine whether this project has any potential environmental impact.  This poses a conflict, given the Town of Ulster’s clear interest in seeing this project move forward, regardless of the possible environmental risks.

KingstonCitizens.org would like to thank the Kingston Common Council for standing up for the citizens’ interests, as well as environmental groups for their diligent scrutiny of the Niagara Bottling Company proposal.

KingstonCitizens.org specifically thanks Riverkeeper and the Town of Woodstock for their urgent statments to the DEC and the DEP and the Kingston Common Council for taking a stand in this matter, too. We would like to see these State and New York City agencies get more deeply involved in the environmental review of this proposed project.

But most of all, we wish to thank the hundreds of engaged residents who are giving their time to better understand the Town of Ulster action. Our citizens will continue to be present at public meetings that may decide the future security of our water supply.

Rebecca Martin
KingstonCitizens.org
rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

KingstonCitizens.org Follows Up With Kingston Water Department/Board: FOIL Request and Questions.

By Rebecca Martin

Members of KingstonCitizens.org followed up with Water Department Superintendent Judy Hansen and the Water Board with a FOIL request for all documents discussed on November 12th as well as the questions asked by Jennifer Schwartz Berky for a follow-up.

We will report back as new information comes in.

 

Click on image to read the full letter to the Kingston Water Department with Questions for follow-up.
Click on image to read the full letter to the Kingston Water Department with Questions for follow-up.

 

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Click on image to read the full letter to the Kingston Water Department of our FOIL request.

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VIDEO: Kingston Water Board Meeting 11/12/14

After today's Water Board meeting, I would advise that the Town of Ulster - or anyone else for that matter - to stop stating that the City of Kingston's Water Department will benefit from the sale of water to Niagara until there are estimated budgets and science in place to be absolutely sure.

Special thanks to Clark Richters of Kingston News for capturing today's meeting.

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By Rebecca Martin

 

13:51 - Phase  1B 
Filtration 

14:50 - Sandy Mitigation Loan

20:55 - Phase II Flood Mitiation

34:15 - Jennifer Schwartz Berky, KingstonCitizens.org

35:00 - Water Board Providing Documents

35:30 - "Infrastructure from Cooper Lake to Tech City has of late been delivering a fraction of the Water compared to when IBM was in operation. What infrastructure work would be necessary both immediately and incrementally for the delivery of 1 million GPD to the proposed Niagara Bottling facility, and who would be responsible for those updates and upkeep?"

Kingston Water Board: "There isn't any." (documentation).

37:47 - "New infrastructure would be necessary for an additional main to bring 750,000 GPD to Tch City for a future expansion of the proposed Niagara Bottling Company. where would the new pipeline begin and end, and who would be responsible for the costs and upkeep of the pipeline?"

Kingston Water Board "We are still in Negotiations."
The expected final report from the Engineering firm hired by the Kingston Water Board was not delivered. Although they used the draft to issue a 'will serve' letter to Niagara.

38:55 - Has the Water Board and City of Kingston been in contact regarding a collaboration to bond infrastructure needs?

Kingston Water Board: "No."
Jennifer Schwartz Berky "But why not?"
Kingston Water Board: "You asked if we have been in discussions and there haven't been. Why? I don't know."

39:29 - Does the City of Kingston have a role to play as involved agency given that improvements to the infrastructure might be necessary?

Jennifer Schwartz Berky - "Do you expect to have a conversation with the Common Council as to their role?"
Kingston Water Board - "I don't believe they do. The answer is no."
41:12 - Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org clarifies the Kingston City Charter

42:20 - "Has the Water Board created an estimated budget to show the projected earnings from a water sale to Niagara? Over the course of how many years would the infrastructure costs be paid for and at what point would the resident users water bill go down. How much for how long?

Kingston Water Board: "That's impossible to say right now."
Jennifer Schwartz Berky: "If you established a 'will serve' can you calculate?"
Kingston Water Board: "The rate has yet to be established."

44:42 - Bill Cloonan "It's Speculation"

45:38 - "We noticed that all of the members of the water board have served far beyond the five year term state in the charter, there president of the Water Board having served since 1981. Can you help us to understand where in the charter there is language that allows reappointments and no term limits?"

Kingston Water Board: "No we can't."
Jennifer Schwartz Berky: "Are you aware of the public officers law in NY State?"
Bill Cloonan: "Yes."
Jennifer Schwartz Berky: "Can you explain that to us?"
Bill Cloonan: "No. But if you retain me, I'd be happy to."

46:43 - "We are doing historical research on the cost of infrastructure over time that the public has paid for infrastructure. Is that something we can request from your office?"

Why the City of Kingston Should Be an Involved Agency in SEQR

The Action submitted by the Chazen Companies (for Niagara Bottling Company) yet passed by the Town of Ulster Town Board and Town of Ulster Planning Board is incomplete and doesn't include Water delivery in the Action. This is known as 'Segmentation', illegal in SEQR.
The Action submitted by the Chazen Companies (for Niagara Bottling Company) yet passed by the Town of Ulster Town Board and Town of Ulster Planning Board is incomplete and doesn't include Water delivery in the Action. This is known as 'Segmentation', illegal in SEQR.

By Rebecca Martin

ACTION:  There are only four days left for Kingston to be added as an Involved Agency. Call Mayor Shayne Gallo at 845/334-3902 or email sgallo@kingston-ny.gov to request that a new letter from the Corporation Council be issued to the Town of Ulster requesting the City of Kingston be Involved Agency. Here is why:

On October 24th, 2014, City of Kingston Corporation Council Andrew Zweben wrote a letter to Martin Brand of the DEC (in response to Riverkeeper) regarding the SEQRA Coordinated Review for the Niagara Bottling Company. In it, he describes why the City of Kingston should not have a role as an 'Involved Agency" in SEQR.

His opinion is based on what some have called a 'Segmented' ACTION in the Environmental Assessment Form submitted by the Chazen Companies, Niagara Bottling's consultant where the facility build and not the water delivery is all that is noted.

The ACTION of an Environmental Assessment Form is meant to outline the entire project, as it is the Action that the SEQR evaluation is based upon. Leaving pieces out is known as 'Segmentation' and is illegal in SEQR.

It is surprising that Kingston's Corporation Council would place his reputation on the line to craft the letter that he did acknowledging that it was based on the EAF Action. Given his long experience working for Municipalities, questioning the Action before making a recommendation like this would only be logical.  Now, the letter that he has created serves as a road block for the City of Kingston, harming the opportunity for the Kingston community to have a seat at the table as it pertains to the proposed Water sale.

Without a doubt, there will be infrastructure improvements required which would trigger oversight by the Kingston Common Council. Whether or not Niagara pays for the  improvements. Whether or not bonding is pursued.  The Charter states that the Council has a responsibility to oversee construction and maintenance of waterworks (read below).  Therefore, the City of Kingston should be an Involved Agency in the SEQR process for the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project.

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Kingston's Charter states that the Common Council has oversight over construction and maintenance of waterworks:

In the City of Kingston's Charter in C11-4 Powers, it states that "Said Board, with the assent of the Common Council, may construct and maintain waterworks for supplying said city and its inhabitants with pure and wholesome water; exercise such powers as are necessary and proper to accomplish such purpose and shall proceed in the manner hereinafter prescribed."

The Kingston Water Department would need to perform improvements in order to 'accomplish delivery' of water to Tech City in excess of 1.0 MGD. 

Kingston Water Department 'Will Serve" Letter
"Additional improvements to the Kingston Water Department water distribution system would be necessary to accomplish a higher 'delivery" demand to the Niagara facility. In view of this, the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of Kingston Water Department (Board) commissioned its consultant, CDM Smith, to perform a demand analysis and has identified specific improvements to accomplish 'delivery' in excess of 1.0 MGD. Preliminary estimate for the cost of the work, without a geotechnical investigation and assuming minimal rock removal is approximately $2M"

 

In Corporation Council Andy Zweben's letter to Martin Brand of the DEC on October 24th, he bases his opinion on the City of Kingston not being an Involved Agency based on an incomplete Action that in SEQR is known as 'Segmentation'.  

Letter from Andy Zweben to Martin Brand

"The proposed Action of the Niagara Bottling Company does not include any bonding by the Water Department or the Construction by it of any capital improvements."