The Evans Town Board approved a Lease Management Agreement with the Erie County Water Authority, which means an additional surcharge for Evans water customers.
The new surcharge of 30 cents per 1,000 gallons of water will allow the town to repay the debt created by the long standing water project that been looming over their heads for years.
“Before anyone goes and breaks down into a cold sweat, what does this mean when broken down,” Supervisor Keith Dash said. “It means a surcharge increase of 30 cents per 1,000 gallons of water. That surcharge, plus the current rate gives the town the designated revenue to repay the debt, and leaves us still in the middle of all municipalities across Erie County in terms of total water rate. On an average water consumer for the year, taking a look at the statistics, it equates to approximately $5 per quarter or $20 per year an average consumer water bill.”
Dash explained that the surcharge is based on consumption, which was a goal for the Town Board from the outset.
“The designated revenue stream is a surcharge on the water per thousand gallons of 30 cents. That’s it. That revenue will be collected when the Erie County Water Authority collects their first bill on July 1.This is something that is based on consumption. If they conserve the water, if they don’t consume, it’s on a usage basis. From the start we wanted to make sure this surcharge was something that affected usage, something that people can monitor.”
Regardless of the new surcharge, Dash views this as a good thing for the town, one that will allow them to move forward and essentially concentrate on other things. He also explains that this was the right move because the Town was simply too understaffed and too underequipped to remain in the water business.
“This is a victory for the Town of Evans, this is for sure a victory for us. Right, wrong or indifferent, this was something we had to get done because the town was put in a spot financially where we just could not dig out. We simply do not have the manpower, the equipment, or the supplies to maintain a water system with only five full time employees and two part timers for any many residents as we have that we sell water to. When it comes to the town board, I applaud my two councilmen for having the utmost confidence in me and allowing me to meet with the water authority.”
“The nightmare is over. The nightmare is over because this is something that has been all consuming. You had an astronomical debt that didn’t have a designated revenue stream and now it has one, and at the same time, the fruits of your labor from the last six plus years are finally complete. We can move forward with the budget now appropriately and properly to meet debt payment and at the same time we will incur no interruption of services and were not on the hook for any large scale repairs and we don’t have to hire anybody for our water department because we’ve created the DPW for cross-training. It just seems the stars we in line and now we go forward.”
As for changes, water bills can no longer be paid at the town hall. Erie County Water Authority will be responsible for repairs of all water line breaks. All water line breaks can be reported to 849-8444. Also, the Erie County Water Authority will not be able to grant any billing adjustments.
“In the end I know we did the right thing and sometimes the right isn’t always easy,” Dash said.
In other news:
• A public hearing for the renewal of a Special Use Permit for the operation of a used car lot located at 9712 Southwest Boulevard will be held April 17 at 7:10 p.m. An additional public hearing will be held regarding Proposed Local Law #4 of 2013, Revisions to the Town Code, on April 17 at 7:20 p.m.
• Town Clerk Jonica DiMartino announced that she will not be seeking reelection.
• Jeanette Rodriquez was appointed as a part time Court Clerk at an hourly rate of $8.75.
• The Supervisor was authorized sign an agreement with Wendel Engineers for Backflow Prevention – Engineering Design for design services, bidding services, Engineering during Construction and Resident Observation Services at a cost of $49,600. The Supervisor was also authorized to sign an agreement for Engineering Proposal – Water Project Program Management Update and Waterline Restaurant and Extensions at a cost of$276,400.
The meeting was adjourned in honor of Gary Nolan and Wednesday, March 20 was named Gary D. Nolan Day within the Town. He was wished good health and good retirement and thanked for his hard work and loyalty, as well as years of service to the Town of Evans.