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Proposal to settle longtime water dispute between Williston Park-East Williston revealed

East Williston Mayor David Tanner with the three-dimensional

East Williston Mayor David Tanner with the three-dimensional model of the new water system being considered by the village board on Nov. 17, 2014. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A proposal to settle a more than decade-old water dispute between Williston Park and East Williston officials was revealed Wednesday after closed-door negotiations allegedly came to a standstill before the offer was presented.

The village mayors, their attorneys and some board members had met in three private special meetings since Jan. 15 to try to resolve the issue, but Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar said nothing was happening, so Williston Park board members decided to release the village's offer publicly.

"The board thought it was time to put it out there," Ehrbar said. "East Williston was supposed to put together something about where we're at and what they were looking for, but negotiations have come to a standstill once again."

East Williston Mayor David Tanner has accused Williston Park, East Williston's water supplier, of charging too much, and lawsuits have been filed by both sides.

Ehrbar said that after the last meeting three weeks ago, his attorneys asked East Williston's lawyers to come up with a proposal for a written long-term agreement, but that nothing happened. He said there have been questions from the public ever since about the progress of negotiations.

According to the Williston Park board's statement, the major points in its proposal include:

Maintaining the East Williston rate of $4.33 per thousand gallons.

Making sure that in all future rate increases, the ratio between the Williston Park and East Williston resident rate will remain at its current level.

A compromise on the nearly $300,000 in penalties charged to East Williston for nonpayment of some of the village's bill.

Placing the balance of paid penalties in the Williston Park Water Fund, which would benefit both villages.

An exclusive long-term water usage agreement for a minimum of 25 years.

When asked his thoughts on the proposal, Tanner, mayor of East Williston, said Wednesday that he felt it was incumbent upon Williston Park, as the service provider, to make an offer.

"I'm pleased to see that we have the start of a concrete offer," Tanner said, adding that he would have his staff review it.

No new meeting dates have been set.


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