We, the Town Board of the Town of Jay, have been made aware that some members of the Town of Black Brook Town Board, but not all, have submitted an our opinion letter to the media in regards to our towns’ dispute over proper payment for services rendered, or in this case, not rendered.
We, the Town of Jay Town Board, do appreciate both the Press-Republican and the Valley News professionalism in allowing us a chance to respond to Black Brooks’ misrepresentation of the facts. The following bullet points are facts and can be verified by pictures, video footage, N.Y.S. D.E.C. reports and engineering reports from A.E.S.
•The Sewer plant, pumping stations, and individual property owner’s sewer tanks were in total disarray and were not on any preventative maintenance schedule when Black Brook was the lead agency.
•The Town of Jay became lead agency on January 1st 2012 after a legally agreed contract was signed by both Towns.
•All Sewer facilities are now on a preventative maintenance schedule as are property owners’ individual tanks and all information is on a computer data base kept by our Town of Jay Department of Public Works.
•Town of Jay taxpayers were billed by Black Brook officials for years for 4-6 hours a day for work which we alleged was not performed. A video we have that we showed to Black Brook official Howard Aubin in September of 2011, and verified by a local resident near the entrance way to the plant can verify the truth. If the sewer plant worker actually worked 4-6 hours a day instead of what alleged for just minutes a day, then one would have to believe the facilities would have been in much better shape.
•Town of Black Brook Councilman Howard Aubin references in his letter that for six months Black Brook officials ordered their sewer plant worker to do the minimum to keep the plant running. If that’s the truth, then the Black Brook town board was in violation of its fiduciary duty to its taxpayers to ensure they were not overpaying for these services if they were not being performed. Again, we alleged at the time, that we were being billed for 4-6 hours a day which was not the case and this expense was paid by both Towns’ taxpayers.
•For years, the Town of Jay was billed for 4-6 hours a day for work performed when we alleged that the sewer plant operator was actually working as a private contractor out of Town and not working these hours.
•Town of Black Brook employee was using Sewer Plant Facilities to house a personal vehicle.
•Black Brook Supervisor Rick Nolan has tried to use the Town of Jay as a scapegoat for their most recent water/sewer audit by the NYS Comptroller’s office. Their audit was for 2009-2012 and it was very obvious that their financial distress had begun well intact before we stopped payment for services not rendered. Placing the blame on the Town of Jay and a computer software issue is a copout.
•During numerous meetings/ discussions with Black Brook officials in 2010 over disputed sewer billings we offered to take an offer by Clinton County Legislator Mr. Bob Butler, who represents the Towns of Black Brook and Saranac in Clinton County, to serve as an arbitrator in discussions at no charge. The Town of Black Brook refused. This, in fact, would have saved them their $25,000 dollars in wasted Black Brook Taxpayer dollars for attorney fees. Mr. Butler can verify this.
•Supervisor Douglas issued a statement to the press only after reading Black Brooks' response letter to the NYS Comptrollers for their audit placing partial blame for their financial issues on us for withholding payment.
•Town of Jay officials received numerous complaints of sewer backing up in peoples basements of their personal residents and businesses because of lack of a preventative maintenance program when Black Brook was lead agency.
•The Town of Jay has worked diligently with the help of Stuart Baird an employee from the Village of Lake Placid to bring all our sewer facilities into D.E.C. standards compliance. (Can be verified with the D.E.C.)
•Town of Jay D.P.W. employee Chet Pulsifer has just become N.Y.S. certified to become our new Sewer Plant operator.
•An engineering report by A.E.S. from March 4, 2011 is proof of the fact that the Sewer facilities were in shambles before we took over operations and maintenance.
•The Town of Jay has shared services agreements with over 20 different municipalities and State agencies and unfortunately the Town of Black Brook officials are the only ones we have ongoing issues with. We even offered to meet yesterday so we did not have to do this response and they refused.
•The Town of Jay has lobbied constantly on behalf of Black Brook with State and Federal officials on outstanding Hurricane Irene issues their town still has outstanding.
•Supervisor Randy Douglas has meetings in Washington Scheduled for next Tuesday with Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Congressman Owens, to discuss outstanding FEMA issues for many municipalities from Clinton, Franklin, and Essex Counties including Black Brook.
In closing, we feel we have done so many things to assist the Town of Black Brook in their time of need to in turn be treated unethically and unfairly. Our issues are not with the good people of the Town of Black Brook but with some of their Town Board Public Officials. The bottom line is we took an oath of office to protect our taxpaying citizens to the best of our ability. We withheld payment for services not rendered for a short period of time and we paid what we felt was acceptable. Some of the Black Brook Town Board officials can call it bullying, but in Jay we call it accountability and performing our fiduciary duty to protect taxpayers’ monies.
Randall T. Douglas, Town of Jay Supervisor, Archie Depo Deputy Supervisor, Amy Shalton Councilwoman, Tom McDonald Councilman, Gerry Hall Councilman