Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Tuesday, October 2

Water war

The water is starting to boil as this debate heats up over whether the city can sell water to Wilton for residential use or not.

At last night's City Council meeting, Public Works Commissioner Anthony "Skip" Scirocco said he worked entirely off legal advice from the city attorney when he agreed to sell water to Wilton.

"I don't blame you, Skip," Accounts Commissioner John Franck told him at the City Council table. "It sounds like you got bad legal advice."

Attorney Joe Scala penned a legal analysis of the city's contract with Wilton in November to justify the sale of water to Wilton. Last night, he got up to defend himself at the Council meeting, but said essentially the memo is his opinion.

That memo uses a few sections to justify the sale of water to Wilton. Paragraph 5(A) which states, in part, "the potable water so supplied shall be used primarily for the domestic water use of the structures (his underline)." Paragraph 8: "The city, if permitted by all necessary Federal and State of New York regulatory agencies, agrees to sell the Authority an additional supply of potable water amounting to a daily maximum supply of 519,300 gallons per day at an average daily usage of 252,250 gallons per day." As well as paragraph 10 which states "no potable water supplied by the City to the Authority will be initially distributed by the Authority beyond the use specified in paragraph "5A" herein or when the approvals required by paragraph "8" are obtained."
After all of those, the memo says "Clearly the current proposal falls well within the boundaries of the terms of the agreement."


The memo does not address the fact that the "domestic" use cited in paragraph 5(A) is specifically referring to domestic use within commercial structures (that was my emphasis). That line, actually, prompted Franck to say “The Twinkie defense holds more water than this. It was pretty clear it was supposed to be for commercial (use).”

That analysis was supported by Peter Tulin, who was the city attorney at the time, as well as both Bill and Tom McTygue, who were at the head of the Public Works Department at the time, have said the intent was commercial use. 

My big hangup in my reading of the contract was paragraph 8, which was included by Scala, which says: "The city, if permitted by all necessary Federal and State of New York regulatory agencies, agrees to sell the Authority an additional supply of potable water amounting to a daily maximum supply of 519,300 gallons per day at an average daily usage of 252,250 gallons per day."

While that paragraph was later amended to cut the amounts in half, it also never mentions whether it has to be for commercial or residential, which made me think they left the door open for more general water sales. 

Tulin, though, said "that section never mentions commercial or residential because by paragraph 8 it's clear you are talking about commercial sale."

That would be supported by a later section when the contract says pretty clearly that to sell water the Authority needs to notify the city of: "The name and type of commercial use for which the facility or structure which is being supplied with water will be used."

Anyway, Scirocco said he will be willing to discuss it further, and while he said he considered putting up another contract, he did not commit to that at the Tuesday night meeting.


Blogger demroc said...

hey lucian, any idea what outside firm worked on the 2001 amendment? why was it not handled by the city attorney at the time? why was it not brought to the council then and why were the documents hidden in a vault and not submitted to the city attorney?

October 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

That is true, demoroc, but it's not entirely important anyway. The amendments don't actually add much to either side of the argument. I'll be posting all of the legal opinions I have, plus the contract itself, tomorrow.

There was also a comment saying this was a political move by Franck to divert attention from the Zlotnick issue. I didn't publish it because I didn't think it deserved to be, given the tone and language and the anonymous commenter was more attacking me and the paper than anything.

Anyway, the water issue was definitely championed by Democrats against the Republican Scirocco, but not John Franck in particular, as the commenter alleged. He didn't jump on the band wagon until Tuesday.

October 4, 2012 at 1:26 AM 
Blogger Lucian said...

Sorry Demroc, misread your comment before. I don't know the firm that worked on the amendments to the contract or why the city attorney didn't. I talked to Peter Tulin about it, but he wasn't the city attorney in 2001. I'll see if I can find out.

And I don't know what to make of the fact that it wasn't in the file, since I have a copy myself, but again, it didn't really add anything to the conversation. Peter Tulin also didn't cite it and said he thought it was somewhat superfluous to the legal interpretation.

October 4, 2012 at 1:29 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Demroc,are you actually trying to pull daddy out of the barrel...even you couldn't misinterpit the 2001 water agreement no matter who put it together and the more YOU try to spin this the worse it will get...because there's more to come!...THE FEDS...

October 4, 2012 at 6:32 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the comment of mine you didn't allow. It IS John Franck. He and the McTygues are one and the same unit. They are linked together and McTygue was the one to make this Wilton and his brother is the one now to exploit it. Reason being his interest of running for office. The office of Commissioner of Public Works! With Pat Design as his deputy.

October 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

i just think it is strange that it was never submitted to the city attorney. you have a copy because someone made sure you had one. plus it's extremely comical you posted an anonymous comment about the feds coming. how much of stretch is it to suggest the feds are investigating a water hook with wilton and what imbecile would suggest it?

October 4, 2012 at 8:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DemRoc these guys have been covering forever. Now they want the attention off of Franck. He is in deep DO Do so they are protecting their hero.

October 5, 2012 at 5:02 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home