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.