Present: Carl Stuendel, Bruce LaMonda, Bruce Dolph, Linda Burkhardt, Tony Coiro, Mike McCrary, Stephen Walker, Ric Coombe, Tony Van Glad, Bill Layton, Pete Bracci, and counsel Jeff Baker
Dean Frazier, Tim Cox, Aaron Bennett, Michelle Yost, Dennis Doyle, Amanda LaValle, Bob Basil and Jay Braman.
1. Call to order 6:17 PM
2. Minutes – Motion to accept Linda Burkhardt; seconded by Ric Coombe. Passed Unanimously.
3. Privilege of the Floor – Dennis Doyle, Director of the Ulster County Planning Department and Amanda LaValle Coordinator of Ulster County Department of the Environment were given the floor. Dennis and Amanda made an oral presentation regarding concerns associated with turbid releases and flooding concerns from the Ashokan Reservoir. They were seeking the development of a dialogue with the CWT on a number items. How might the CWT and the below Dam towns work together on issues related to the FAD and MOA on the premise that reservoir operations are related to the management of turbidity which is a major concern of the FAD? They are seeking a seat at the table with regard to negotiations between the City and the NYS DOH, NYS DEC and EPA on the FAD and ongoing regulatory matters. They posed that it may well be worth the effort and time to revisit the FAD and MOA to attempt to get improvements as it has been in place since 1997 and things have changed. For instance there is no simple appeals process pertaining to regulatory problems. They also stated that since the form of government in Ulster County has changed to that of a County Executive that should be taken into consideration in all these matters as that is a significant change in that the Executive speaks with one voice from Ulster County. They voiced concerns regarding the inability to get access to documents sent between these entities when they are negotiating on critical issues directly affecting the watershed and below dam towns. A thoughtful discussion ensued. Counsel, Jeffery Baker reflected on how and when the CWT has historically been able to make serious headway with the City on issues of concern.
He also reviewed the purposes and jurisdictional limitations involved, pertaining to the MOA, FAD and WSP. For instance, the jurisdiction of FAD only includes above dam matters related to protecting water quality. The framework for opportunities to make changes reside more under the water supply permit renewals related to DEC’s function in that process, rather than the MOA. While the CWT might agree that changes would be helpful it would be a monumental and costly lift to get changes in the MOA as there are no leverage points to make those changes, hence it is not in the CWT’s interest, at this time, to take that on.
CWT agrees that they would like more access during the FAD renewal process, the “seat at the table”. However, the Courts ruled that the CWT does not have standing in the FAD review. Having said that, the CWT has been able to influence what is currently in the FAD and is relatively pleased with the revised 2007 FAD overall. To reinforce Counsel’s opinion he reminded all, that it was through the legal avenue provided via the Water Supply Permit renewal process, that the CWT was able to make gains regarding changes to the permit that benefited the watershed area and equally important the avenue to secure programmatic commitments in the WSP. These assured their incorporation into the Final Draft of the 2007 Revised FAD. Mr. Baker suggested that the DEC Consent Order is where Ulster County should focus as he believes that is a place where Ulster County should have standing in the process. The question of commonality of interests is important. The challenge of the CWT is that it has multiple interests based on a different jurisdictional framework than what is being sought by below dam municipalities. It was felt that would be a real challenge to organize around and be effective all around.
Speaking to Dennis and Amanda, Mr. Baker referenced a statement attributed to Mike Hein from an article in the Times Herald Record – 9/16/13; by James Nani. “Hein said it’s no surprise current watershed communities are now comfortable with the DEP; they’ve become reliant on the DEP’s good graces — money and programs — and are therefore not inclined to criticize the department. ” Mr. Baker suggested that if Mr. Hein is seeking assistance from the CWT, such statements will not engender their support. To suggest the CWT has not taken strong stands on issues and negotiations and continues to do so with the City, or any other watershed partner, he is at best, poorly informed.
The Board concluded that the scope of the discussion was very broad and that they needed a proposal from Dennis and Amanda that more clearly delineates what it is they want. Dennis thanked the Board for their time and indicated that they would be back with a written document.
4. Revised FAD – Counsel indicated there were four areas of interest to the CWT. He said it was very consistent with the elements outlined in the WSP.
a. Land Acquisition:
i) He recommended that the CWT seek to reduce the City’s solicitation requirements by 50%.
ii) There needs to be language in the FAD relative to a cap on the number of acres that can be purchased through 2025 as agreed to in the WSP. This process in now a state one, not federal and that given that, the cap should be included.
iii) Language needs to be included that states where they are at in terms of acres acquired and money expended.
b. The new $15 million dollar program to purchase land for properties. Language needs to be inserted that describes how this program integrates with the overall flood mitigation program. This program will likely require a change to the WSP.
5. WAG update. It was announced that Robert Illjes is no longer with the WAG. WAG has indicated they will be meeting with city officials to discuss some issues.
6. Article 7 Lawsuits and TLAP – The Towns of Roxbury and Tompkins are holding out on signing the Article 7 agreements. They are seeking to have the Article 7 settlement language that enables the settlements to evolve into the TLAP program when they mature. A meeting is set for Tuesday September 17th to discuss this.
7. Flood Mitigation Program Status – nothing new to report.
8. EWP Projects. Greene County reported that things are being done. Delaware County will be seeking an extension on project that has been delayed due to technical difference. This is a major and costly project. Delaware County SWCD is closing in on the finish line. A few of the 30 plus projects, are going to be nip and tuck regarding the 9/30 timeline
9. Warrants and Financial Report.
Pete Bracci moved to pay the warrants and accept the treasurer’s report. Ric Coombe Seconded. Unanimous vote to pay.
10. Correspondence – announced.
11. Adjourned. Motion by Stephen; seconded by Bruce LaMonda. Passed.
Adjourned 8:48 PM