New Paltz prepares for 2016 aqueduct repairs

faucet HZTTalks continued last week about how New Paltz will find an alternate water supply in 2016 during a ten-week shutoff of the Catskill Aqueduct. Either way, New Paltz can expect some help from New York City, according to Todd West, with the city’s Bureau of Water Supply.

“We have committed to provide funding to a backup supply. That’s a key point here,” West told local officials on Aug. 15. “But the backup supply is not identified yet right now, so there’s no dollar amount associated with that.”

New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection oversees the aqueducts that feed the metropolis with drinking water from upstate reservoirs. Locally, the Village of New Paltz is a beneficiary of that water, tapping into the city’s supply.


On average, New Paltz uses between 700,000 gallons and 1 million gallons of water each day. Town water users — who purchase water from the village — make up a fraction of that use at 70,000 gallons a day.

The city needs to shut down the Catskill Aqueduct to do repairs on major leaks in the system, which dates back to 1915. They plan to shut down for ten weeks in 2016 and another ten weeks in 2017. Without NYC water, New Paltz’s village backup water supply only has enough H2O for five days.

During their talks with mayor Jason West in the village, the DEP has tested a number of locations for a backup supply. One of those was the Wallkill River, which — despite recently testing positive for fecal pollution — the DEP said could be treated and used for drinking water. It’s unclear how much that would cost.

Other options, like connecting to water in Lloyd or Gardiner, would cost $10 million. Finding a good water supply locally could potentially drop that to $7 million.

New York City officials took aim at one rumor that has cropped up as New Paltz’s leaders have discussed the water situation. “The city is not looking to get users off of its system, but it’s really important that any user on our system has a backup supply to them,” Todd West said.

Brinnier & Larios is the engineering firm behind the village’s water infrastructure. Dennis Larios tried to reassure village trustees during their Aug. 14 meeting.

“The 2016-2017 work is not set in stone,” the engineer said. “Their schedule could change.”

When Jason West was mayor the first time, he heard from the DEP about the shutoff back in 2004. At that time they predicted that the work would take place in 2011. Delays pushed back the progress.

Trustee Sally Rhoads said she sees an ever-ticking clock counting down to the shutoff. “If they intend to start this in 2016, that’s more than tight,” she said.

Mayor West wasn’t present at either Wednesday’s or Thursday’s meetings, due to a family emergency. However, he submitted a lengthy letter to the editor last week detailing his frustration with town supervisor Susan Zimet edging into the water discussion with the DEP.

“Zimet has inserted herself into negotiations she is not party to,” the mayor wrote.

The supervisor has previously said she thinks the town needs to get off of the village’s system and start one of its own. She said she became involved when she realized the DEP had missed potential well sites located in the town.

“We are not negotiating in any way on behalf of the village. It’s not our role. That’s not our place. We just have water. We wanted them to know about it,” she said.

Village Board members said they felt excluded from whatever work Mayor West has done so far on the backup water supply. A recent draft report addressing the water shutoff situation was news to the trustees.

Either way, New York City faces some pushback if New Paltz loses water.

“Their schedule is very optimistic. Politically, they’d have trouble shutting anyone off that’s not prepared for the shutdown — especially a community with a college in it,” Larios said. “Politically and legally that’d be very difficult.”

New York City would provide their share of money for building the backup water supply, but New Paltz would be responsible to build it, city officials said.

Town and village officials plan to meet with representatives from SUNY New Paltz — one of the system’s main water users — during a joint meeting on Sept. 11.

“We are all in this together because water is water,” village Trustee Rhoads said.

There are 19 comments

  1. Ron Turner

    I think that is the most ill-informed, cliche ridden dumbest Village Board I have ever witnessed in New Paltz, collectively even. As for the firm of Briner and Larios, they have been with the Village of New Paltz since the late 1890’s? The village board all responds like they are meeting its representative for the first time, and in public too? That is dumb.

  2. Ron Turner

    I think the County Legislator, Hector Rodriguez, should weigh in on the matter, as if we need help from Ulster County taxpayers, they will be sure to give it. And we need to be assured we will get $10 million for not only a water treatment back-up, but also a second and new sewer treatment plant south of Main Street to stop the untreated raw reggata sewage going into the river at Water Street anymore. I mean, we know that the parcel of land is private where the pipe sits, and we know it is only assessed at $200, but the people of New York City are not going to appreciate finding out they have to dicker with a village that is not required to exist and a county legislator who is not required at all if the village is not required, and a village that allows landlords, like the county legislator who has to live in his district, the village of new paltz, to not NOT be a commercial property tax rate because the TOWN has no Homestead Law. pretty clear to me?

  3. Ron Turner

    It has been more than 30 days, Sally, and I have yet to get a response to my request. I got a wheelchair, a numbered wheelchair tag from the State and own a primary residence here, the only ADA parcel owner in the Village of New Paltz, I might add and need a “Handicapped Only” parking sign with the white and blue wheelchair painted on the pavement in front of my house at 21 Mulberry Street. You did not respond to coming by when I asked you either? You know it was me and Alvin Mertine that got the new $80,000 wheelchair lift into Village Hall to replace the old one?

  4. Ron Turner

    And Sally, with Mulberry Street having a park on it, there is not a single sign saying “SLOW”, “CHILDREN IN THE AREA”; “HANDICAPPED RESIDENT AHEAD” Mulberry Street is 35 miles an hour. What ever happened to the 5 mph signs in the park. Why does the idiot on the p.a. system says everything but “Be careful driving in and out of the park area” and why don’t the Town and Village have for public meetings a comparable sound system as good as that one in the park? Did you blow all the money there?

  5. Ron Turner

    I quote the Village of New Paltz Planning Board Workshop February 19, 2008 ZB08-08.
    Ruth Elwell, Head of the planning board is quoted. A request for a variance is being petitioned by the developer.
    “Inconsistencies in the code regarding multi-family dwellings in different zones require this particular project to get variances.”
    The variance was granted to the developer because of these built in to the code “inconsistencies”. Five years later, it still is happening.? Sally, what’s the deal?

  6. Ron Turner

    Since the Village got rid of its assessing unit in 1978, the Town has continually been cheating me out of my “All disabled” exemption, the supervisor Zimet specifically. That means that the village is collecting twice as much money from me in taxes then they the village are entitled to. What does the Village Board know; the Village Tax Collector has been taking twice as much in taxes from me for the last four out of five years? I hold the village board responsible too because the information the village building department sends to the Town assessor is all fraudulent. Sally?

  7. Ron Turner

    The Town Assessor has posted on the Town Assessor site the 614 STAR exemptions on commercial lodging services in New Paltz. As you can see, the majority of them are in the Village. What say you?

  8. Ron Turner

    Speaking of water, how come the Village doesn’t buy the aquifer of potable water out on Paridies Lane by exit 18 to the thruway. That would be the closest to the village of all possible sites? What is the guy asking for his land these days?

  9. Ron Turner

    The Village should buy 21 Mulberry Street because it is the oldest house in nu paltz, (1669, long before thestone houses), it is adjacent to the village town park across the road, and would be a great historic renewal project as the “bones” of the house are still good, 350 years old as some of them are. In fact, I even have spares to go with the sale. Did I say it has a well, the oldest well in New Paltz, so you can get water from it even if only to water the shrubs in the park or fill the pool too.

  10. Ron Turner

    The Mayor Of New Paltz House, 21 Mulberry Street could be; a house could go with the job of being Mayor of New Paltz. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  11. Ron Turner

    Here is a bright idea?
    Reconstitute the Village Assessing Unit and I will be the Village Assessor. Then we can make comprehensible and equitable the Village portion of the Final Assessment Roll Books and be a model to the Town of New Paltz, the Supervisor of which has done a lousy job with the granting of ADA entitlements and exemptions.

  12. Ron Turner

    Sojourner Truth once lived at 21 Mulberry Street; I found her baseball bat in the cellar with her name engraved on it. Buy the bat for $175,000, and I will throw in the house and .32 acres for free? The Mayor of New Paltz House? Sounds good and at a good price too.

  13. Ron Turner

    The park and pool is not compliant with the ADA, and worst of all, the public picnic tables have been taken away from the public? How exclusive can a privatized public park be?

  14. Ron Turner

    I did 10 years on the Town of New Paltz Board of Assessment Review, seven years as the Chair, 10 years of videotaping six different Town boards, every meeting; 4 years doing three different Town Planning Boards, 3 years doing the Police Commission; and I am the only ADA handicapped parcel owner in the village. I have also developed the amazing skill of being able to detect the errors of fact, clerical errors, omissions and unlawful entries in any assessment roll book in the State of New York. I also have as town supervisor, the one who is stealing and lying about me now to get my money, Susan Zimet, the same supervisor who probably rues the day for having appointed me to the Board of Assessment Review in the first place because David Strong was against it. How ironic, but then what is history if not viewed with irony?

  15. Ron Turner

    According to the Final Assessment roll books Sallyour house is assessed at $332,100 and pays about 3% per $1,000 of assessed value. that would mean that your taxes are $10,000 a year for village, town, county and school district.
    According to supervisor zimet, P and G’s restaurant, bar, taco stand, barber shop and three upstairs apartments are assessed at $515,000 and pays 3% per assessed $1,000 so its total taxes for village, town, county and school district is $15,000 a year. That is only $5,000 a year more than you pay sally. Why is the town complicit with defrauding the residential property tax payer and the village concomitant. NYC take note.

  16. Ron Turner

    Moriello Pool is a true sieve built in shale rock that leaks NYC water every day of the year. I know because I have to drive the car and walk the dog through it every day. My maps were used by the Riverkeepers in their notice of intent to sue against West in 2003. If Nyc needs a map of the susan zimet inequitable and incomprehensible assessment roll books, no problem. Down town is Wall Street, uptown is the Bronx.

  17. ron Turner

    As long as Su Zimmet has endorse Ruger on the Town of New Paltz Board of Assessment Review, yes, it IS dangerous times indeed.

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