BY BRANDON GUBITOSA
The June 14 Town Board meeting started off with a moment of silence following the recent tragedy in Orlando. The meeting was held in memory of Edward Onderdonk, who was a volunteer member of the Ambulance Corps for 30 years and a two-time town council candidate.
During public input, SPACE President George Potanovic took time to inform and discuss with members of the town on the SUEZ rate hike. Potanovic spoke on the $54.5 million surcharge SUEZ wants Rockland ratepayers to pay forward for its failed Hudson River desalination plant. “Ratepayers would pay up to 18.7% more in monthly bills and more than $100 million with interest over the next 20 years for a plant that was not needed, approved or built,” said Potanovic. He advised that residents speak up with their concerns over this outrageous surcharge as Rockland ratepayers already pay some of the highest water rates in the nation.
Potanovic also talked about SUEZ failure to inform the public on the issue, “They chose to run the ad on a Monday, the day of the week with the lowest reader circulation of the newspaper (Journal News).” There are a total of four public hearings on the SUEZ water rates. The first two hearings took place on Wednesday June 15 at the Stony Point Rho Building located at 5 clubhouse Lane. The next two hearings take place Thursday, June 16 at 2 & 6 P.M. at Rockland Community College in The Ellipse Auditorium located at 145 College Road.
Maria Molders of Willow Grove Road also spoke up with her concerns over the rate increase. Her water is brown and smells like sewage, and she has called numerous times to complain about the water quality. Molders went on to say how every time she calls SUEZ a representative tells her to “let her water run until it clears up.” A water sample by Molders was bought in to show how brown her water was, “It’s ridiculous that I have to buy bottled water because I cannot use my water and have to pay high rates for water that’s not usable.”
Later on in the meeting the town authorized up to $2,500 to pay for legal services to fight against the proposed rate hike. At this time, an attorney has not yet been chosen.
Kate Cahill & Patrick Donahue of River Road in Tomkins Cove spoke on the need to add speed humps on the road they live on. River Road is located right off 9W in Jones Point and is often confused as part of 9W by travelers heading north on the road. “Drivers are coming in at high speeds, and it has gotten worse in the past years,” said Donahue.
The road is a dead end and there is only one sign warning travelers. The speed limit is currently 20 MPH on the road. Donahue and Cahill have lost a pet because of drivers traveling at high speeds on River Road. Supervisor Jim Monaghan advised that the town plans on looking and doing research on the issue.
The next town board meeting takes place June 28, 7 p.m. in the RHO Building.