Water Issues On Tap At Sands Point Village Meeting

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Water Commissioner Scheyer preparing to address the board
Water Commissioner Scheyer preparing to address the board

By Ann Marie Fruhauf

Mayor Edward A. K. Adler began the Sept. 21 monthly meeting of the Village of Sands Point Board of Trustees with a report from Water Commissioner Daniel Scheyer. The commissioner opened with water use in the village, which was approximately 70.522 million gallons, stating his belief that 2015 would be a record consumption year. The village water system currently services approximately 2,900 residents through 1,560 connections, 677 of which are designated for sprinkler systems, and is supplied by three aquifers which are accessed through wells. Scheyer updated the board on the status of a new well project currently in progress with Nassau County. The commissioner voiced his concern with respect to the slow pace of the Nassau County project and, while he was cautiously optimistic that it would eventually come to fruition, he was looking for guidance from the board to pursue alternative avenues.

To that end, Scheyer identified an area on the golf course of The Village Club at Sands Point where an additional well facility and building could be added without affecting golf play or significantly impacting surrounding residents. Scheyer asked the board for its feedback on the idea of a test well in this area. The commissioner further suggested that the village allow for engineering specifications to be prepared for the well simultaneously with those of the county project, thereby giving the village the option of a second or alternative well on village property. He also pointed out that proceeding in this manner would be the most cost-effective and would provide the village with flexibility as issues concerning the water supply come to the forefront.

Trustee Lynn R. Najman expressed concerns about noise, to which Scheyer responded that he believed the building housing the facility would mute any noise and it should not be an issue. Trustee Marc Silbert asked that the commissioner provide the board with more detailed information on the location and facility. Scheyer agreed to provide drawings to the board so that they can see where the test well would be built and the specifications for the facility and building. The commissioner clarified that he was not looking for any formal approval, but authorization to proceed with an investigation of this option. However, the commissioner was of the belief that the village will ultimately need two new wells and that in the end it will not be a choice between one well or the other but a necessity to have both. Mayor Adler thanked the commissioner for bringing this issue before the board and thought it prudent and cost-effective to proceed with the engineering for both projects simultaneously so as to keep all options open on the table. The board agreed asking the commissioner to proceed with the investigation of an additional well on the club property and prepare the engineering reports simultaneously with the Nassau County project.

The discussion then turned to possible conservation measures, as the unusually dry summer combined with the high usage levels in the village have put a strain on water resources. The commissioner, the mayor and the trustees were not in favor of mandatory limitations on water usage in the village. The board, however, was supportive of measures that would encourage voluntary compliance, specifically with respect to lawn sprinklers which continue to be a large drain on the system. Trustee Najman called the water situation a true shortage and a critical emergency, asking if it was possible to put something out on the North Shore alert system in hopes of getting the word out to residents to conserve. Trustee Silbert suggested that the board look at the rate structure, perhaps instituting a tiered system whereby charges would increase as usage increased. While no definitive decision was made, the board will continue to explore ways to alert residents to the problem, encourage voluntary reduction of water use and promote conservation.

Other matters addressed by the board included reports by trustee Peter A. Forman on treasury, banking matters and liability insurance, which included recommendations to the board with respect to supplemental liability coverage. Trustee Najman updated the board on permits and filings at the building department, trustee Katherine Ullman reported on the status of planned roadwork in the village and Mayor Adler gave the Village Justice Court update. Frank Benzakour, CCM, CCE, general manager of the Village Club at Sands Point, discussed current efforts to further develop the catering business at the club, specifically targeting wedding events and the board approved advertising expenses for both The Knot and WeddingWire, Inc., two popular wedding sites. The board also approved the purchase of a new police vehicle and authorized their contribution to the 2015 Thanksgiving Day Run.