Massena mayor and town supervisor 'butt heads' over details of water maintenance deal
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 11:41 am

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- After a heated argument between the Town Council and village representatives at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, it was agreed that each board will send two members plus the public works superintendent to a future meeting to hash out a water maintenance deal.

Speaking during a public comment portion, Mayor James Hidy and Town Supervisor Joseph Gray butted heads over how the proposed deal is phrased.

Gray said the deal gives the village control over the water system, but it actually belongs to the town. He wants the contract to be short, stating that the village will provide the actual water and the town pays them for it.

“I’m confused why for three years now we can’t come to terms with a maintenance agreement,” Hidy said.

“My objection is that agreement gives the village complete control over the water system – it’s our water system,” Gray said. “The town of Massena built that water system, we own the water system, and we control the water system, but that’s not how that agreement reads.”

Councilman John Macaulay said he thinks it may be time to address disparities in water fees across the different water districts.

“If water turns right [after leaving the water plant], you pay one fee, if water turns left, you pay a different fee,” he said, adding the Massena Electric fees are the same, no matter where it goes. “For years this has bothered me.”

Under the current deal, the village sets the water fees and the town sets maintenance and operation fees. It remains in place until a new one is hashed out.