BY JENNA HUTCHINS
On Tuesday night the Stony Point Town Board informed the public about a growing controversy and heard comments about the coming debates. The board approved hiring special counsel to assist the Town of Stony Point in light of legal action being taken by the Joint Regional Sewerage Board (JRSB) based in West Haverstraw. The board is suing Stony Point over payment disputes and seeking to give the town the boot.
Stony Point was billed $72,000 by the JRSB for the year of 2013-2014. Upon examination, the Stony Point Town Board determined that their claim was overshot by around $8,000, and wrote the JRSB a check for $64,000 with plans to have a discussion over the discrepancy. In response to this, however, the Joint Regional Sewerage Board voided the check.
The Stony Point Town Board has requested information from the JRSB multiple times about specific charges, once in February 2015 and again in July 2015. The board has been consistently ignored; although part of the agreement with the JRSB states that it will provide this type of information upon request.
In what seems to have made matters worse, the JRSB is trying to throw Stony Point out of the board and terminate their agreement. The original contract stated that Stony Point would be using their services until 2025. The JRSB, however, is claiming that the agreement ends in 2015. This can mean trouble for Stony Point if it is not resolved.
The Town of Stony Point has the capacity to hold only a certain amount of sewage. When there is overflow, the excess is sent to the JRSB. If the agreement the town has with the JRSB ends in 2015, there will be no place for the excess sewage to go.
Supervisor Geoffrey Finn said the town is close to not needing their services because of new updates, but it will definitely not be ready by the end of the year. He said that it did not logically make sense that the town would cut 10 years off an agreement that it needed.
“Apparently they want us to put our sewage in the streets,” Finn said, as he expressed great disappointment that politics has significantly affected the JRSB’s decisions. “We all need to do what’s best for taxpayers and the environment, and stop thinking about ourselves.”
This is not the first time Stony Point has had problems with the JRSB. Twice in the past, in 2006 and 2007, the JRSB overcharged the town significantly. In 2006, the JRSB charged Stony Point more than $48,000 over what they actually needed to pay and in 2007 overcharged by more than $30,000.
In addition, homeowners and business owners in Stony Point need to pay a fee to the Joint Regional Sewerage Board, which Supervisor Finn said is usually overpriced as well. The exorbitant prices for residents coupled with consistent overcharges may prompt Stony Point to sue the JRSB in the future.
Despite the legal action the Joint Regional Sewerage Board is taking against the town, the Board said that it is ready to fight. Supervisor Finn said he is confident they will win. Based on contracts, multiple attempts at correspondence, and the constant overcharges, the Board is planning on a victory and settling before the case even goes to court.
In addition to the controversy, members of the public also addressed the board and those in attendance on upcoming events.
George Potanovic, President of the Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment (SPACE), reminded the public about the upcoming Stony Point candidate debates. Candidates will be running for various local positions, including Supervisor, Town Council, and County Legislator.
The president highlighted the importance of the people of Stony Point being able to hear directly from the candidates. He also suggested that those running for elected positions take to the podium during Town Board meetings and inform the public on who they are and why they are running.
Interested residents can send questions in prior to the debates for candidates to answer. SPACE will accept mail at SPACE, P.O. Box 100; Stony Point, NY 10980, e-mail at [email protected], and Facebook questions on their page.
The debates will be held Monday, October 26, 2015 from 7-10 p.m. in the RHO Building at 5 Clubhouse Lane in Letchworth Village. Doors open at6:15 p.m.