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