PRESS STATEMENT FROM ASSEMBLYMAN JAMES SKOUFIS
The Environmental Facilities Corp (EFC) recently announced its second round of NYS Water Grant Program awardees. The single largest beneficiary in the Hudson Valley was the Village of Kiryas Joel which received $23.7 million for its pipeline project: $20.7 million in low-finance loans and $3 million in grants.
This award flies in the face of common sense. The plain and simple fact is the Village of Kiryas Joel continues to receive special treatment. As a matter of right and wrong, I will not stop fighting until everyone is required to play by the same rules.
In early 2014, the EFC questioned the village’s ability to repay an existing $27.9 million loan for Kiryas Joel’s pipeline construction. One of their financial analysts was quoted as saying, “EFC continues to have concerns regarding the viability of the project.”
In response, Kiryas Joel officials offered this assurance: “The Village would charge new residents as a result of annexation a $25,000 connection fee. This would serve as a commitment from those residents to pay for the costs of the pipeline.”
Kiryas Joel officials made it crystal clear: their ability to repay the original pipeline loan is irresponsibly based on an annexation that had not occurred at the time and still has not occurred. There is no reasonable justification to send more public funding to a municipality that is not in a position to repay taxpayers, period.