BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why is the Cape Prison paying a benefits assessment?

CVTBM~ Marty Mason
During the June 18 meeting of the Cape Vincent Town Councilman Marty Mason and original Water District
Superintendent Bob Chapman told the public the state pays their fair share of Water District #1 debt for the prison in the form of a benefits assessment.  They said it was $1.40 per 1000 and the prison was assessed at $56 million (Times said $1.15 per 1000) . If they are right then the prison pays $78,400 each year in debt service.

The prison is not only hooked up to the water line but it is the district’s biggest user. Mason said the prison pays $175 a year in debt service for its one EDU. If the prison is a subscriber to water district services, then why is the state also paying a benefits assessment?

Cape Vincent Local Law #1 of 1995 (link) setup Water District #1. In Article 3(A) it outlines debt cost for each unit (3A1) and also for “remaining portions of the debt service not covered by the flat charge” (3A3). The law does not describe a situation where a user pays a flat charge plus a benefits assessment.

The local law specifically states a benefits assessment is for those properties that are not connected but would benefit from the town’s municipal water. The prison is connected and pays its debt portion ($175, reduced from the initial cost). Why then is the state paying a benefits assessment? If this arrangement is not covered under the local law, then where is it described?

The prison should have been assigned far more EDUs rather than pay a questionable benefits assessment. In section 3A1 of the 1995 Local Law it says “in a multi-unit building each rental unit shall be considered a living unit.” If this applied to apartments in the Cape then why didn’t it apply to the prison which is the largest multi-unit building in the water district?  

The Watertown Daily Times recently reported the prison should be assigned 883 EDUs, based on past usage. Marty and Bob claimed the state pays their fair share with $78,400 each year in a benefits assessment. If the prison paid according to its EDUs (883 EDU X $175) it would owe $154,525 each year and it would be $76,125 a year short or $2.28 million short in total debt service. Marty Mason should not be claiming the state pays their fair share in debt while at the same time listening to mobile home park owners describe how they paid far more than their fair share. It’s never too late to fix something that’s broke.

Finally, don’t confound the issue of debt costs and water usage costs.  No one is complaining about the distribution of water costs because they all pay the same rate.  The prison pays big money to the town because it is a big user, but it pays less than half what it should have on the district’s debt. Debt payment is the issue.

Link here to read CV Local Law #1~ CV water district #1 https://www.scribd.com/doc/269468508/Cape-Water-District-1-Local-Law-of-1995


Anonymous said...

Pandora, thanks for the link to this local law. Actually, I don't think it is quite clear just who is obliged to pay a benefits assessment. In one sentence it states that all debt not covered by the flat charge will be covered by a benefit assessment charged to ALL parcel owners in the district.It doesn't say all OTHER parcel owners,but then states that parcel owners NOT connected will pay according to assessed value. Seems a bit nebulous.

There seems no doubt however, that the prison should be paying the flat charge based on hundreds of edu s, not just one.

Anonymous said...

A shame that a councilman listens to Beaton, Docteur and Bono complain about paying too much in water district debt and then talks at length telling the audience the prison pays its fair share of debt with a benefits assessment when it doesn't. He is running for office, the prison doesn't vote, but mobile home park residents just might shift their vote. Why would he defend the prison when he should have said he will take another look at the water agreement and make sure it is fair to all residents and users?

Anonymous said...

So, if the prison is 2+ million short on paying for the debt service, the rest of the users in district I have gotten the shaft for 19 years. Where's my phone, I'm calling the state comptrollers office.

Incidentally, you state that everyone pays the same rate/1000gal for usage. Not true districts 2 and 3 get water directly from the DANC line and pay far less. the village users pay far less. The issue of who should pay for a fourth filter for the village system has become completely screwed up with these recent revelations.

Anonymous said...

This issue focused on the prison, but what about the school, farms, state parks and any other major water users? They apparently are all the equivalent of one EDU. So, a little old lady who flushes once a day to save money paid the same debt as Burnham Point, Cedar Point, Thousand Islands high school and the Woods Farm. Sounds like that agreement was dreamed-up by a bunch of farmers.

Anonymous said...

I think you have misinterpreted the wording in the law. It states that the remaining debt ,not covered by the flat charge will be paid by a benefit assessment on ALL properties in the district. It specifies that properties without connection are also charged this assessment, for clarity and emphasis. So contrary to your assertion, there is language that pertains to users being charged both a flat rate and the benefit assessment (which originally was labelled an ad valorem tax).

There are two issues here. First why is the prison and other large users only being charged as one edu? Secondly, is it proper,legal ,or justifiable to charge users in the town an additional fee for upgrades to the system for expansion that does not benefit them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe its time for a real shakedown on this water fiasco. Some recent discussions have revealed quite a few property owners in district one who are non users ,but not paying a benefit assessment!! Who the hell is in charge down there???

Anonymous said...

Dave Croft and Tina Maloney.

Anonymous said...

How can the prison pay the town more than $70,000 a year, but nothing specifically noted in the District #1 law? It is crazy to think it just slipped through the cracks. This arrangement has got to be available in some type of contract or agreement.