Author Archives: kingstonnavigator

City of Kingston: Water Supply Permit and Water Supply Applications of 1954 & 1929.

FOIL Request DEC
By Rebecca Martin

Recently, we reached out to the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) to see if we could receive a copy of the most recent Water Supply Permit by the City of Kingston.  They asked that we FOIL (NYS’s Freedom of Information Law) for their records, which we did.

According to the DEC Region 3 office, no records could be located in the Environmental Permits Office that was ‘pertinent to your (our) request’.  That means that the COK will need to apply for a new Water Supply Permit in February of 2015.  More on that later.

On March 8th, 1954 an application was filed with a hearing in Kingston on March 31st, 1954 and a decision on April 6th, 1954 for the ‘approval of the installation of a 12-inch supply main from the existing conduits in the Town of Ulster to a proposed connection with the internal water supply system of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in the Town of Ulster in which Town of Board of Water Commissioners have not heretofore legally supplied water in large quantities.”

That the DEC has nothing new on file, all that can be done at this moment is assume that the last application submitted was in 1954. Lets say for now that is the case.

WATER SUPPLY APPLICATION NO. 2510 “For approval of the installation of a 12-inch supply main from the existing conduits in the Town of Ulster to a proposed connection with the internal water supply system of the IBM Corportaion in the Town of Ulster in which Town of the Board of Water Commissioners have not heretofore legally supplied water in large quantities.”  

What’s in the application?  Here are some items that we’ve found to process and research. Check back periodically as we become more familiar with the documents to share more for your information.

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1. The Water Department says it has the authority to make the decision to sell the public’s water for the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project without the input from elected officials. 

QUESTION:  The Mayor of Kingston is a voting member of the Water Commission and appoints each of its members.  What say might Kingston’s Common Council have in influencing the Mayor’s role/vote on the Water Commission?  How can we work to re-write the charter as it pertains to the Water Department for better checks and balances on water sales and infrastructure needs?

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2.  In “Findings of Fact” point #10 (page 3), it says that in 1954, the Safe Yield was at 8 million GPD.  According to Kingston Water Department Superintendent, in 1961 it was estimated to be at 6.1 million GPD.

QUESTION: That would be a drop of 1,900,000 million GPD in the safe yield between 1954 and 1961.  Today, Hansen admits to using the 6.1 million GPD as a basis for their decision making – but that data is now over 50 years old and is not taking into consideration any modeling for climate change, future growth and future Economic Development for the City of Kingston.

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3. In “Findings of Fact” point #9, it speaks to a May 27th, 1929 Decision. You can read it here.  water supply application no2510:  “For approval of its acquisition of an additional source of water supply, for increasing the storage in Cooper Lake, for constructing the Mink Hollow conduits and Cooper Lake conduit, for constructing Binnewater equalizing reservoir, and for reinforcing the distribution system.”  It goes on to say “the project proposed under this application was never fully carried out and the Commission, in its resolution of November 14th 1947 in approving the works as then completed, rescinded such parts of its decision of May 27th, 1929 as referred to works proposed for future construction but not then completed.”

QUESTION: TBA

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4.  In “Findings of Fact” point 14 it states that the maximum demands of the new plant of IBM were expected to be at 1 million GPD.  Following this statement, in point #15 it states that the ‘officials of the City of Kingston should be made aware of the fact that by meeting the demands of the new plant the limit of the capacity of its water supply facilities will be closely approached.

QUESTION:  At 1 million GPD, the Water Power and Control Commission in essence is warning Kingston City Officials that the amount given to IBM on a daily basis is placing them at risk to push the limit of the Safe Yield.  Were City Officials in the loop back then? Why are they not considered

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5.  In “Conditions” (page 4) “A” it states that ‘under the decision and approval the City of Kingston is authorized to furnish a water supply to the new plant of IBM Corp.  NO AUTHORITY, however, is given hereby to the city for the sales of water to any others from the supply main to be installed to such a new plant without further consent approval of the Commission.”

QUESTION:  What this means to me, is that that 12-inch supply main that was created to bring water to IBM in the Town of Ulster cannot be used for any other corporation without the approval of the Commission, now known as the DEC.   How might that be applied in Niagara’s case? 

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6.  In “Conditions” (page 4)  #1  it states that “Under this decision and approval the city of Kingston is authorized to furnish a water supply to the new plant of IBM Corp. NO AUTHORITY however, is given hereby to the city for the sales of water to any others from the supply main to be installed to such a new plant without further consent approval of the Commission”

QUESTION:  Once more, it appears that the City of Kingston has no authority to sell water to any other corporation except IBM without the consent of the Commission, now know as the DEC.  How might that impact the sale to Niagara today?

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7.   In ‘Statutory Determiniations” (page 5) in the “Fifith” it says that said plans are ‘just and equitable to the other muncipalities and civil divisons of the State affected thereby and to the inhabitants thereof, particular consideration being given to their present and future necessities for sources of water supply.”

QUESTION:  What Science does the Water Department have to determine that ‘particular consideration’ was given to Kingston’s ‘present and future necessities for sources of water supply’ in the supplying Niagara Bottling Company with 1 million GPD – 1.75 million GPD where they, unlike IBM will use the full amount to bottle and to sell? 

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HYPOTHETICAL:  It occurs to me as a thought process:   the 12-inch supply main installed for IBM can move 1 million GPD of water which Niagara wishes to utilize, probably in the first 4-5 years.   In their proposal, an additional 12-inch supply main is mentioned for future expansion. Although they are only requesting an additional 750,000 GPD from that pipeline as I understand it,  what’s to say that they wouldn’t push to get the additional 250,000 GPD that the main would have the capacity to bring?

SEQR: Interested vs. Involved Agencies

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By Rebecca Martin

Last night the Town of Ulster Town Board expanded both their ‘Involved’ and ‘Interested’ Agency list on a “Revised Resolution on Notice of Intent to Declare Lead Agency” (see pages 38 – 44) for the Niagara Bottling Facility project.

We are disappointed that involved parties don’t also include the Town of Woodstock, City of Kingston and Town of Esopus.

 

 

Involved Agencies are:
Town of Ulster Town Board (Site Plan Approval)
Zoning Board of Appeals (Variance to Reduce the number of off-street parking spaces)
Ulster County Department of Health (Water)
Ulster County Department of Public Works Highway & Bridges Division (Highway Permit Work)
City of Kingston Water Board (Water supply)
US Army Corps of Engineers (Nationwide Permit)
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 3 (Sanitary/Storm Water)
NYS Department of Health (Water)
Town of Ulster Sewer Department
Town of Ulster Water Department
Town of Ulster Highway Department
NYS DEP
NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Ulster County Industrial Development Agency (IDA)

Interested Agencies are:
Town of Ulster Planning Board (Advisory recommendation to the Town Board)
Ulster County Planning Board (Advisory recommendation pursuant to NYSGML Section 239 1 & m)
Ulster County Community College (Start Up NY Program Office)
Town of Woodstock
NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets
City of Kingston
Town of Saugerties
Village of Saugerties
Town of Esopus
Town of Kingston

 

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In SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review Act)

Involved Agency
An ‘Involved Agency’ for SEQR is involved when “the determination is made that the agency has or will have a discretionary decision to make regarding some aspect of the action.” Depending on how an agency first becomes involved in an action, initial responsibilities will vary.

Interested Agency
An ‘Interested Agency’ has about as much authority as the public, however – to be listed as an interested agency (as defined in 617.2 (c) to mean ‘a state or local agency. However, private organizations, interest groups and individuals all have an ability to participate in the SEQR process”.

READ the link to learn more about interested agencies, and particularly point #6 which lists “When and how may the general public begin to participate in review of specific action under SEQR” and #7 “How can interested parties who are not involved agencies be most effective in presenting their concerns about a proposed action?”

 

TRANSCRIPT: Town of Ulster Supervisor Addresses the Water Board 10/8/14

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By Rebecca Martin

We are pleased to share the transcript of the Town of Ulster Superintendent Jim Quigley addressing the Water Board on 10/8/14 following their Executive Session and after the public had left.

CLICK HERE to read and follow along below.

What I Saw, Did You Know? KingstonCitizens.org Wants To Hear From You.

 

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By Rebecca Martin

Over the past couple of weeks, our readership has grown exponentially given the concern of the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project and the amount of information provided here.

With it, citizens have done an impressive job in learning more (and very quickly I might add)  to craft thoughtful speeches, ask insightful questions and to do it all with a pointed focus, grace and eloquence.

I have received hundreds of emails from citizens during this time period who wish to share their experience or to relay important information on the proposed water sale.

It’s completely inspiring, but has been somewhat of a puzzle to figure out the best way to relay the many points of view of the public for the public.

KingstonCitizens.org introduces  “What I Saw, Did You Know?”   It’s a place where citizens can share their experience and relay recently acquired knowledge for others to benefit.

Here’s how it works:

1. CATEGORY: For now, our category is the proposed Niagara Bottling Company Project.

2. WHAT I SAW: Write one page on a meeting you attended, a visit to a site, an article you read, a conversation with an elected official or citizen (it can also include what you heard). Keep it clean and above the belt (if you can).

3. REPORT: What one new thing did you learn that you’d like to share with the public. Please provide links in your piece as back up to your research.

4. WHO ARE YOU?:  Imagine a world where anonymous was no more?  I would really love if you’d tell us who you are, your city/town and email address. That way, you can be contacted by another citizen who might wish to connect. I totally understand if you’d rather not. In that case, please share your city/town and email address.

5. SUBMIT: to rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org   I’m starting a whole new section and will post for readers.

 

It takes a village as they say.  Help me in expanding our knowledge on all of the implications of the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT: Town of Ulster Meetings Town Board (10/16) and Planning Board (10/21)

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By Rebecca Martin

The following is information on what to expect at the upcoming Town of Ulster Town Board and Planning Board meetings.

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, October 16th, 2014
7:00pm

WHERE
Town of Ulster Town Hall

AGENDA
Click on this LINK

The Town of Ulster Town Board will meet at 7:00pm. 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.   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.

Their meetings are always taped (audio) which we will have to share when it is uploaded.

 

TOWN OF ULSTER 
PLANNING BOARD

WHAT
Town of Ulster Planning Board

WHEN
Tuesday, October 21st  2014
7:00pm

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

AGENDA
Click on this LINK

The Town of Ulster Planning Board will be reviews the SITE PLAN (New Business) of the proposed Niagara Bottling Company project. The public is invited.  We are requesting time for public comment now, and will update you on the status.

If public comment is made available, 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.

Their meetings are always taped (audio) which we will have to share when it is uploaded.

 

VIDEO: Kingston Conservation Advisory Council Meeting 10/14/14

Standing room only. Great job, citizens.

Standing room only. Great job, citizens.

The Kingston Conservation Advisory Council did a great job hosting a public meeting this evening with guest Water Department Superintendent Judy Hansen.

Thank you to the Kingston CAC, League of Women’s Voters, Judy Hansen and Clark Richters of Kingston News who filmed the event for the public.

Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org

 

 

 

PART I

Part 2

Part 3

IMPORTANT marks to hit this week: October 13th – 17th

By Rebecca Martin

These are the important marks to hit as we enter into a new week regarding the Niagara Bottling Company Proposal:

* All week long *
CALL Martin Brand regional director of the NYS DEC region-3. 845/256-3033. Request that the DEC be lead agency for the SEQR review of the Niagara Bottling Company proposal. You can email him too at:  martin.brand@dec.ny.gov

* Tuesday, October 14th 6:30pm – 8:30pm *
ATTEND the upcoming Kingston Conservation Advisory Council Meeting on Tuesday, 10/14 at 6:30pm.   Water Department Superintendent Judy Hansen is scheduled to be present to answer questions regarding Kingston’s Water Supply as it pertains to the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. Project.  The Kingston CAC meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 at City Hall. These meetings are open to the public.  This meeting will be held in council chambers, the large room on the top floor of Kingston City Hall.  This event will be filmed. 

* Wednesday, October 15th  – 8:10am *
CALL in at 8:10am and ask Mayor Shayne Gallo all of your questions regarding the Niagara Bottling Company proposal.  WGHQ 920 AM    845/331-9255  See their SCHEDULE

* Thursday, October 16th – 7:10am *
CALL in at 7:10am and ask Town of Ulster Jim Quigley all of your questions regarding the Niagara Bottling Company proposal.  WGHQ 920 AM    845/331-9255  See their SCHEDULE

Niagara Bottling Company Proposal. Could Tax Abatement For 10 Years Impact Kingston City School District?

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By Rebecca Martin

The Niagara Bottling Co. project is looking to come to the area taking advantage of the ‘Start-Up NY” initiative (‘Start-Up NY’ helps you start, expand or relocate your qualified business to a tax-free zone in NY State’)

In simple terms, that means that if they were to ever come to Tech City in the Town of Ulster, their taxes would be abated for 10 YEARS. Does that include school tax too?

For if it does, guess which School District Tech City is in, where this proposed project would be built?

The Kingston City School District  (see “Existing Community Services C.4 on the attached form).

Our City officials at this time appear to not be familiar with Start-Up NY and how the tax abatements work. From what we can tell right now, taxes abated under Start-Up NY is a State Decision. It would not be a PILOT involving the IDA. We will continue to check that to find evidence to back up what many believe to be the case. 

READ the Governer’s Program Bill from 2013.
“100% tax-free (e.g. including no income tax for employees, no sales, property or business tax).

 

 

WGHQ: Live Call-in: Mayor Shayne Gallo and Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley

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By  Rebecca Martin

Call-in to ask questions regarding the Niagara Bottling Proposal to both City of Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo and Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley on WGHQ 920 AM.  845/331-9255

Mayor Shayne Gallo: 8:10am 
Wednesday, October 15th

Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley: 7:10am
Thursday, October 16th

Hit it Kingston citizens.

View their schedule HERE

Kingston Water Board: Members and Term Limits

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By Rebecca Martin

Are you as curious  as I to know who sits on the Kingston Water Board?

Call me old fashioned, but I have a great deal of respect for those who volunteer for boards, councils and commissions in Kingston.

However, this five member board believe that they alone have the authority to decide whether or not Kingston’s water source can be sold to the Niagara Bottling Company. Five people who view themselves as independent of Kingston City Government.  (?)

Joseph DeCicco, President
Al Radel
Robert Niedzielski
Raymond McSpirit
Dennis Croswell
Shayne Gallo, Mayor

In 1895 by a special act of the NYS legislature to provide potable water to the residents of the City of Kingston, it says that the Water Board is a “financially and administratively independent department within the City of Kingston and is governed by the Board of Water Commissioners. The Board is a continuously sitting body and each member is appointed to a five (5) year term by the Mayor. The Mayor is a voting member of the Board.”

A five year term.  I’d like to see how long each member has served. I have a hunch that some of them have been sitting around that table for longer than five years.

What was relevant in 1895 – over 100 years ago – probably isn’t all relevant today.  Back then, in being independent the idea was to keep politics out of water.  How’s that working for us in 2014?

Have a look at the Town of Ulster Supervisor Jim Quigley addressing the Water Board after everyone left.  VIEW

Furthermore, to assume that back then it was ever anticipated  that bottling and selling surface and groundwater and shipping it far and wide – or climate change would be in their purview is just plain silly.

Reform is a good thing, folks.

This builds a stronger case of the need to update Kingston’s charter.   I like the idea of exploring new forms of government too while we’re at it, such as City Manager Form of Government where a professional with a background in public administration could be hired.  KingstonCitizens.org recently hosted a public educational meeting on the subject and it was enlightening.

Here’s how I feel about THAT.  But we’ll take this all up again at another time.

For today, it’s important for Kingston citizens to look at every aspect of the proposed Niagara water deal and that includes who this Water Board is.  Their backgrounds and for how long they have served should be made priority.