Village of East Williston mayor David Tanner stood by his claim that Village of Williston Park mayor Paul Ehrbar rejected a request made by state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) to mediate the ongoing water dispute between the two villages.
“We the village stand by the accuracy of our statements,” Tanner said.
Ehrbar denied those claims in a letter published in the Aug. 21 issue of The Williston Times .
“This never happened!,” Ehrbar wrote, “To bring the senator, a good friend to both villages into this discussion is outrageous, inappropriate and unconscionable.”
Ehrbar added that Tanner and the East Williston Board of Trustees’ personal attacks represented an insincere desire to settle the issue.
Last week, the East Williston Board voted to move forward with the environmental review process required by the state for the installation of a well near Devlin Park.
“If their plan comes to fruition it will quickly become obvious that operating a water plant requires ongoing costs and more effort than just turning on a spigot,” Ehrbar wrote.
East Williston retained the services of H2M Architects to conduct the environmental review. The well would cost slightly less than $7 million according to an H2M presentation made last November.
“Even if the cost of building a water plant in East Williston meets projected costs, which seems unlikely, in the long run, their residents will be saddled with water rates far exceeding those currently being charged by Williston Park,” Ehrbar said.
Williston Park currently charges East Williston $4.33 per thousand gallons. That figure was upheld by the appeals court after a lawsuit filed by the Village of East Williston. Tanner said he is sure Williston Park will raise the rate again to overcome a $150,000 budget deficit.
“It is obvious he’s concerned about the likelihood of us building our own well and the loss of potential revenue,” Tanner said.
Ehrbar declined to respond to Tanner’s statement.
He previously confirmed that there was a deficit in the Village of East Williston’s water budget. He said that deficit was generated by the legal fees the Village has had to pay in this case.
“There’s no current plan in place to have a rate increase,” Ehrbar has previously said. “We are currently in the midst of court action.”
The two sides continue to disagree over whether the other has adequately responded to letters sent from the Village’s respective attorneys. Ehrbar wrote that East Williston has not responded in writing to a letter sent six weeks ago. Tanner said Williston Park did not respond to a counteroffer made.
Ehrbar wrote that he is tired of finger pointing made by both sides.
“This type of behavior only confuses the facts and has the potential of creating unnecessary animosity between the Villages, a disservice to all residents,” he wrote.