Water issue again topic of Watkins meeting
WATKINS GLEN--During the Tuesday, Feb. 21, village of Watkins Glen board meeting, trustees heard from several members of the public in addition to regular business.
Leadership from Watkins Glen International (WGI) offered perspective and context for comments included in the minutes for the Feb. 7, meeting. These minutes indicated that the town of Dix has an "exceedingly high balance due for water supplied by the village." Representatives from the town of Dix were at that meeting and indicated that stalled payments were due to the "discovery of billing discrepancies between what's being used by customers and what's being consumed someplace in the system." Two private customers were noted as being "possible causes of discrepancy": WGI and Lucky Hare Brewing.
WGI attorney George Winner and Michael Printup, president at WGI, explained that the track did not receive bills for five months. Although the track was ready to pay the bills when they received them in January and is willing to pay what it owes, the track noticed that the bills didn't make sense. Winner offered an example, citing a one-month bill from November 2022 to December 2022, which was three times the usage billed during the time period when NASCAR was held.
"And we didn't have anyone there," Winner said.
Winner explained that a meeting was requested in September 2022 and was finally granted for March 9, 2023. Track personnel hope that the meeting will offer clarification regarding how bills and charges are determined, because, according to Winner, "we believe that some of the problems you have with what the town owes you may be a result of some really significant usage errors that are occurring."
Kristin VanHorn, director of planning for the county, also presented the results of a recent bidding process for village DRI projects that have yet to be completed. The bids came in significantly higher than the budgets, which were developed in 2018. No action was taken by the board at this meeting, although it is expected that a resolution will be presented at the next meeting.
In addition, a resident requested clarification on how decisions are made regarding when and which trees are cut down in the village. She requested that the village seek expertise from an arborist before making decisions. Village representatives offered examples and explanations for decisions that have already been made, including the promise that any tree that is removed is replaced, although homeowners can request that a new tree not be planted.
Another resident requested direction and help with commercial properties taking over residential properties. He asked who the issue should be directed to, wondering if this is a zoning, code, or planning issue and would like outside help so it doesn't become a "war between neighbors." Trustees indicated that it is a code issue and confirmed that the village's code enforcer was notified in December of 2022 about the area in question.
Finally, Wet Couch Radio, a local podcast, alerted trustees that they "are ready to hand the baton back to the village to take over the responsibility," in relation to recording and publishing audio or video from board meetings. Stacy Gray offered to help the village set up the equipment to broadcast future meetings.