Sunday, April 1, 2012

Water ~ Unnatural Resources

Correction /4/4/2010 9:04 PM

UPDATE~ 10:54 AM 4/2/2012
A reader recently asked me about the water districts in Cape Vincent . In an attempt to gain a better understanding of the workings behind these districts , I have obtained all of the water service agreements and other ancillary documents concerning the water districts through a FOI request .

Water district #2 has been a hot topic lately.

Here are a few basics about Water District # 2
The Cape Vincent Town Board established water district #2 in October of 1997 .
The town board of the Town of Cape Vincent sits as commissioner of water district #2.
The commissioners of the water district set the rules and regulations to govern users of the water system within the district.

Rules and regulations for water district #2

Section 1. Service area

. Initial Service Area.
Water District #2 includes four(4) parcels situated along the Jefferson County Regional Water line as follows:
Donald Mason
Donald Votra
Town of Cape Vincent
Paul and Hazel Aubertine ~ This property now belongs to Darrel Aubertine.

Future Service Area.
As currently proposed, the water District is set up to service four (4) parcels, however, future possibilities exist to extend the water District to service additional properties located along the regional water line alignment within the Town of Cape Vincent.
Although a resolution was passed appointing the Town of Cape Vincent Town Board as commissioners of district #2 there may have been those within the municipal network that were under the impression that the Development Authority of the North Country(DANC) was in control leaving questions as to who was making decisions regarding water district #2
Section 2.
District Financial Structure.

A. The cost of instillation, connection, meter pit and/or vault with meter, inlet and outlet curb stop will be borne by the parcels for which the Water District has been created... The financial structure was set up this way to ensure that each user would be paying the cost directly attributable to their connection. Additionally the legal and engineering costs to form the district were to be shared equally by the initial parcels in the service area.

B. Future extension to serve additional properties located along the Regional water line alignment within the Town of Cape Vincent shall bear the cost directly attributable to their connection as stated above.

C. Since all capital charges for the improvements (connections, meter pits, inlet & outlet curb stops) will be borne by the respective property owners of the district, the annual cost to the district users includes the cost of water from the regional Transmission line plus an administrative charge.

D. All of the above connections, including meter pits, meter, inlet and outlet curb stops, shall be owned and installed by the water district.

A. It is the responsibility of the current property owner to notify the Supervisor's office to the impending date of transfer and request a meter reading for final billing


B. No cross connection of water systems will be allowed
This agreement was amended in 1999 there was a change in some of the contractual language related to payments, admin fees etc., but overall the changes were minimal.

The big issue concerning the water service of district # 2, Water District 2 has been using three times as much water as District 3 while paying only a tenth of the capital and operations and maintenance costs.

Has district 2 been expanded to service properties outside the bounds of the district outlined in the water service agreement?

The data below about the overhead for each district from a Watertown Times story (It is incorrect .)
Water District 2’s three users paid roughly $713 per user in capital and operations and maintenance costs and used a total of 4.9 million gallons of water On the other hand Water District 3’s 35 users paid $9,808 per user that year but only used a total of 1.4 million gallons.
Below is a correction to the above data .
The distribution of overhead is aproximately ~ $700 to dist 2 and 9800 to #3 total.
Not each user

The town plans to conduct an audit on all water districts open up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities…

Town of Cape Vincent records The Watertown Daily Times archives


Anonymous said...

Once again many thanks Kay for your excellent investigative reporting. Certainly an audit is needed and it will be very interesting when it is reported out.

Anonymous said...

It the town is the commissioner, then were the other connections approved by the town?

Anonymous said...

Good question 8:30....the audit results should make all these cloudy issues clear. It sure is wonderful to know that our current town board is taking action to insure protection and equality of ALL citizens!

Anonymous said...

If the connections were approved by the town why the secrecy?

Anonymous said...

The only thing to do secrecy in all of this is in your minds and people who are just trying to keep things stirred up. Water district2 has been done for 15 years.Anyone of you could of looked into this for years but you didn't care,until Wind Turbines come about. The people on this line want wind and as always your trying to destroy these people,mainly Mr. Mason.He was on the town board and didn't cow down to any of you and you don't like that.You antis did everything possible to ruin Marty And Don Mason. As far as the board getting to the bottom of this is a laugh Clif,John,Brooks had no clue to what went on with the water lines.If Mr.R Wiley was a truthful person and blogger he would of put that these guys even admitted at the last work session they didn't know anything about the water disticts.He would of put Urban sent out letters to district2 without the other boards input and he admitted he should not of done that until everything was looked at.If District 2 was doing wrong,why would they of contacted Brooks cause Urban was gone.He in turned contacted Urban.Why would they of brought attention to themselves if there was any wrong doings. In a nut shell,Urban jumped the gun before doing his homework,Water District2 didn't let him get away with it. You folks jumped on the band wagon with all your accussation,when you heard Don Mason and Darrel Aubertine was on the line.Admit it its all to do with wind. So yes bring on another audit and do all the investgations you want.

Anonymous said...


What? Darrell Aubertine is on the line, too?

But he is not on the contract as one of the users.

Who is he buying his water from? And if they are running a water selling business, who is in charge of all of the various regulations that have to be met? Who is collecting the money. Are they paying federal taxes on the earnings that are being used to reduce their District 2 debt and maintenance charges.

Wow, this is getting complicated. I think Mr. Hirschey was very wise to have opened this all up to a full investigation and forensic audit.