Williston Park eyes overhaul of water tower

Williston Park eyes overhaul of water tower
The Village of Williston Park is planning to either renovate or replace its municipal water tower, seen here on Syracuse Street. (Photo from Google Maps)

The Village of Williston Park is planning an overhaul of its municipal water tower that could cost as much as $6 million.

Village officials have been discussing the project since at least last year and are still mulling whether to renovate or fully replace the tank on Syracuse Street, adjacent to Kelleher Field park, Trustee Teresa Thomann said.

The village Board of Trustees voted Monday to authorize $6 million in bonding to fund the project. That amount would cover the cost of replacing the tank, the more expensive option, Thomann said.

The village has not actually borrowed any money, and likely would not need to borrow that much, as officials are seeking state and federal grants to help fund the project, Thomann said.

“There are two solutions and two plans, and we’re putting everything in place to select one of them,” Thomann said.

Thomann declined to discuss specifics of the project because it is still in the “very preliminary” stages. It is part of some long-term work the village is planning “for the future of the water supply,” she said.

The water tower is Williston Park’s sole water storage tank. The village Water Department operates three wells that provide water for Williston Park and the Village of East Williston, which is Williston Park’s largest single customer.

Williston Park would pay off any bonds for the project using revenue from water bills, according to a legal notice from the village.

The legal notice says the village could also get money from the state’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, which offers grants of up to $5 million for municipal water projects.

Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar plans to brief officials in East Williston on the water tower project and the various options it is considering, Thomann said.

Ehrbar did not return phone calls seeking comment.

East Williston and Williston Park signed a 25-year water-service agreement last year after a five-year dispute stemming from water rate hikes that Williston Park imposed.

Both villages are responsible for maintaining their own water infrastructure under the agreement. Williston Park cannot increase East Williston’s water rate, currently $4.33 per thousand gallons, until June of next year; and any rate increase must maintain the ratio of East Williston’s rate to Williston Park’s.

While he said it is “too premature” to comment in detail on the project, East Williston Mayor David Tanner said he was confident Williston Park would follow the agreement.

They’re responsible for running their system, so I have to assume that if they’re spending the money, they’re spending the money to make the repairs,” Tanner said.

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