Murray highway superintendent says water districts are not losing money; town is responsive to residents’ concerns
Having listened for over two years to Mr. Sidonio’s allegations about the Town of Murray Water Districts, I am addressing his most recent letter to the editor. The Murray Water Department is not losing money. We are not robbing Peter to pay Paul. Mr. Sidonio continues to deliberately mislead residents in an attempt to get their votes.
I have been here through construction of all 16 water districts. For 28 years, I have put together budgets for these districts and presented them to past and present board members for review and they adopt the budgets. We work hard on our budget every year and we do question our bookkeepers and often have them make changes. Yes, it is the resident’s money and we do pay close attention.
The board members and I are residents who pay their water district charges. Residents share ownership in whichever water district they are in. If we budget an amount for the year and we have money remaining at the end of that year, it goes into fund balance (savings) for that district. If there is a year that we have a number of water breaks or unexpected costs, we may need to use some of that fund balance (savings) in order to keep taxes from going up. Much the same as our own personal bank accounts; we put money in savings and use it when needed. Money does not get transferred between districts; what residents pay for their water district stays in their water district.
As years go by and water systems age, they require more maintenance. We can all relate to more repairs on our homes as they get older. It is to be expected. We are consistently looking at the costs related to maintaining our water districts and make changes when needed. I expect Mr. Sidonio does not want to pay operating and maintenance on his water district since he tapped into the Village of Holley water system years ago. Maybe he feels that the burden of operations and maintenance should be on the other residents in his water district. This board and past boards, many years ago, decided that because a resident is a part owner of their water district, they should pay operations and maintenance, even if they do not hook up presently, it still has to be maintained for them.
Over the 30 years that our water system has been in place, we have had many different Supervisors, Board members, accounting firms and auditors. If there was something being done improperly, it would have been found and addressed. The accounting firm that Mr. Sidonio himself suggested we should hire, had in fact, been doing an annual audit of our water districts for years. Does anyone really believe that anything would be overlooked year after year?
As far as comments about the Town not listening to the residents and not hearing their voices, I have always had an open door and have welcomed and listened to any resident who has an issue. I do my best to address their concerns and help them out.
I am careful with the money I spend in my departments. The Town has only 3 full-time employees to maintain our 16 water districts, while also performing their highway duties. I am proud of my employees, who do a great job and work hard at keeping our town maintained. I am proud of my years working for the Town of Murray residents and the accomplishments made during that time and I resent the false accusations that continue to be thrown at myself and the Town Board.
Mr. Sidonio has spent the last few years attacking the current and past Town Board members in an attempt to convince you, the voter, that Murray is in financial crisis and he will save it. This is far from the truth.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
Highway & Water Superintendent