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SCWA to take over Dering Harbor water system

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor Village Hall.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dering Harbor Village Hall.

Trustees of the Village of Dering Harbor convened a special meeting on June 9 and passed two resolutions.

In the first, the board thanked Hap Bowditch for his service to the village as they accepted his resignation as operator of the Village water plant effective June 15.

“We want to express our gratitude to Hap,” said trustee Betsy Morgan, who chaired the meeting. “He has served the village loyally for more than 11 years. Every day, he has shown his dedication … He often filled in for Richie [Surozenski, Village Highway Department Chief] and we are all very grateful.”

The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Bowditch submitted his resignation May 10 in a letter to the mayor and trustees expressing his frustration with the village’s failure to proactively address its water system issues over the years. “I have been trying to hold this system together with scotch tape,” his letter said in part.

He expressed his dismay at reading in The Reporter that the Village was looking to replace him, implying that as water plant operator he would have been responsible for its problems.

The second resolution, to approve an interim contract with Suffolk County Water Authority to operate, manage and maintain the village’s water system, also passed by a unanimous vote of the trustees present — Patrick Parcells, Karen Kelsey and Ms. Morgan — but it was not without controversy. Village Mayor John T. Colby, after clashing with Mr. Parcells over the terms of the agreement, refused to attend the meeting or support the resolution.

Attendee Michelle Feldman, speaking on behalf of residents Marian Brownlie and Tim Hogue, who were not present, questioned why the agreement was accepted without issuing a request for proposals and why it needed to be for one year. Village Counsel Wayne D. Bruyn said the village faced an emergency condition and needed a licensed operator to comply with state and county regulations.

Mr. Parcells said the term of the agreement would give them time to consider other options. “We did an RFP for the tank repair,” Mr. Parcells said. “The bid was accepted and work is under way” on the water tank, which had been in serious disrepair.

The next meeting of the Village Board will be 9 a.m. on June 16. The village will hold an election on June 19. Mayor Colby is not seeking re-election and Ms. Morgan is running unopposed for mayor. Karen Kelsey and Patrick Parcells are running unopposed for re-election as trustees.