Top 14 Questions for Paul Feiner (RE: 42% Water Rate Increase)

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I am running a bold yet respectful campaign for Greenburgh Town Supervisor in the November 2019 election. This also covers residents in villages who do not necessarily know they are in Greenburgh (Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington, Tarrytown).

These questions are not intended as attacks. They are just questions that should be answered.

It’s good to see the town finally investing in water infrastructure, but why did it take so long? Here’s the link to where they mentioned that “Joining the two pumping stations is a vital infrastructure upgrade” over 3.5 years ago.

For something that they call “vital”, why does it take over 3.5 years just to get a plan to raise the money?

It’s not clear how well the town engaged the public. It is good to see the town promoting transparency in their words, but it’s not coming through in their actions.
In 2016 the town promised, “As the interconnect project progresses, further information will be available to the public and posted on the Water Advisory Committee’s web page

Unfortunately, when we go to the Water District Advisory Committee’s webpage, none of the promised updates for the past three years are listed there. Some questions for our town supervisor:

  1. What materials did you send do the Water Advisory Committee related to this project, if anything?
  2. How many times did the Water Advisory Committee meet in the past three years or does the town supervisor only consult them privately by email?
  3. If the committee did meet, do they have any documentation of their recommendations?
    This information should be present on the town’s website as promised, but all updates are missing.

According to the town’s 2019 report from Raftelis Financial Consulting, the Town Board expects to spend $3,500,000 on cleaning and painting the next water tower (link).
Some questions about this expensive process:

  1. When was the last time we asked for bids for these multi-million dollar projects to clean and paint water towers?
  2. How long was the bidding process open?
  3. How many bids did we receive and what were the amounts in each bid?
  4. How did we disseminate the last bid opportunity?
  5. Which of the companies that provided a bid did the town reach out to proactively and which came in on their own?
  6. The Town Board contracted with Utility Service Company, Inc in 2015 to rehabilitate three water towers at an average of $1,600,000 each. What documentation do we have which explains why we are spending millions more now per tower? I’m not saying this is the wrong cost, but I am saying that these multi-million dollar expenditures should be documented transparently.
  7. For this next tower rehabilitation, will we have a bidding process or are we just using the same company from before? What is the justification for using the same company?
  8. How do we plan on disseminating the bid for this next water tower renovation?
  9. How much did we pay Raftelis Financial Consulting to conduct their report?
  10. What was the process by which we found Raftelis Financial Consulting? Which other firms did we consider and why did we choose Raftelis?
  11. What processes does the town supervisor use to ensure cost discipline across all of his departments? Are there written policies, trainings on leading practices, or sharing of lessons learned?

Finally, there seem to be contradictions in the important information the town is telling us. We hear in the town board meeting from this week that cleaning and painting the past four water tanks has cost “each around $3,000,000 plus to renovate”. Here is the link.

Unfortunately, that statement is in contradiction to the town’s 2017 press release which stated that, “Under this $4,803,148 contract USC is rehabilitating and painting the Juniper Hill Road, Glenville, and East Irvington water storage tanks.” That’s three tanks for just $4,800,000 million ($1,600,000 each). (Link)

This is a big difference and it’s hard for us as residents to know what information to trust from the town when it’s in direct contradiction. I’m hoping it’s just a miscommunication which the town can clear up.

I respectfully invite my opponent, Mr. Paul Feiner, to respond to the 14 questions above, line by line. I appreciate that he delayed the Town Board’s final vote on the water rate increases (in response to one engaged resident’s request) so we can bring important questions like these to light.

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