Murray should safeguard water system, assure public there are no financial or health issues

Posted 6 September 2016 at 2:03 pm

Posted 6 September 2016


The Murray Town Board should place less emphasis on harassment of businesses, i.e. parking etc. and homeowners, i.e. cut your grass etc. by an overzealous code enforcement officer who thinks he is judge, jury and executioner. Instead, place more importance on the municipal water system known as the water districts, per the economics and operational aspects of such.

Since municipal water involves the life, health and safety of the people in the Town that frequent the restaurants and businesses every action should be taken with the utmost care. Even the appearance of impropriety should cause concern. It is serious business and should be treated as such.

Let’s visit the economic side first. In the spring of this year Mr. Joe Sidonio addressed the NYS Comptrollers report which stated the shortcomings of the accounting of Capital Projects mainly in the water districts. All spring Mr. Sidonio showed facts and figures supporting his claims that indeed the people in Murray were being overtaxed for the water districts.

Murray Town Supervisor John Morriss seemed to be surprised at the figures that Mr. Sidonio was in possession of and wanted to know where he had gotten his information from, continuously denying that the allegations were true. Mr. Morriss, being Murray’s Chief Financial Officer and by municipal law required to fill out monthly financial reports, should have been on top of the issues.

Maybe he relied on Mr. Edward Morgan who is in charge of the water districts to supply him with information. After 6-7 months with personal character attacks printed and vulgar names said behind Mr. Sidonio’s back, Supervisor Morriss finally admitted that indeed the taxpayers are being overtaxed by the Town.

Mr. Sidonio has maintained an adult composure while dealing with apparent adolescence. It most likely will take another 6-7 months to get answers to questions on how the overtaxation, mismanagement and the operational financial loss in the water department will be corrected. Enough of the economics.

With the picture of the firehose hooked up to a hydrant – with what looks like no water meter or backflow prevention valve – on Fancher Road being circulated and as serious a health risk as it is, Water Superintendent Morgan and Councilman Lloyd Christ (who used the municipal drinking water supply for irrigation) have put the citizens of Murray in a bad situation.

The article “Murray does not let farmers steal water” posted on the Orleans Hub mentions Councilman Lloyd Christ by name. It does not mention Edward Morgan. Why? The scuttlebutt is that Mr. Morgan loaned Mr. Christ the hose and approved the connection.

To ease the minds of the people the Water Superintendent should show the signed register showing the meter readings and serial number of the unit and the serial number of the back flow prevention device. Those items are the property of the Murray Town taxpayers have to be accounted for in the inventory.

A sheet of requirements should show the hookup procedure for the meter and backflow prevention device. Seems to me it would be asking a lot to have the meter reader traipse 300-400 yards out into a field to read the meter. To remove all doubt, the meter and backflow should have been placed on the hydrant in the first place as required by NYS Health Code.

After taking so long to address Mr. Sidonio’s concerns and immediately jumping on this situation anything that comes from the Murray Town Board I tend to take with a grain of salt. Mr. Morriss, as a side note, when Mrs. Carol Culhane first took office she inherited a complete mess in the Gaines Water Department and was able to straighten it all out with very little help.

Al Lofthouse


(Mr. Lofthouse is chairman of the Orleans County Conservative Party.)