Murray officials need to solve problems with excessive costs for water districts

Posted 24 May 2016 at 12:00 am

Editor:

After four months of debate the Town of Murray has finally acknowledged it is over-taxing its water districts. I would like to thank Supervisor John Morriss for confronting this issue and reaffirming the looming fact that our water department is losing money. We have come a long way since I first raised the issue and now that we are in agreement hopefully we can work towards a solution.

As acknowledged by Supervisor Morriss, the Town of Murray has been taxing water district residents in excess of the bond principal and interest payments for the loan residents agreed to borrow for installation of water line infrastructure. Your special district tax on your property is to pay back that loan not operation and maintenance. According to the original engineer’s report, “The cost for operation and maintenance is included in the water rate charged to each user of the system.”

Now begins the real work: fixing the issue. Councilman Paul Hendel suggested comparing our water rates to neighboring towns possibly raising the rates. Our water rates are in line with other municipalities. Lets’ not throw more good hard-earned money after bad. Other water departments can sustain themselves at rates and costs similar to Murray’s. So why can’t Murray be self- sustaining as well? The answer must lie in the operation of the water system itself. Instead of increasing taxes let’s investigate definitively what our problem is. Excessive salaries, too muck pork, water loss or all of the above?

Now that the Town of Murray has hired a new CPA book keeping firm, the Town Board and Water Superintendent should schedule a public work meeting to address this crisis and identify the root cause of the problem, suggest possible solutions, implement a plan and monitor the department’s performance going forward.

The Town of Murray admits we’ve been over taxed for years and our water department is still in the red. The Town owes water district residents an explanation of how we got here and how the problem will be fixed. It’s time to roll up our sleeves, dig deep and address the root cause of the problem.

Joe Sidonio
Town of Murray