Despite concerns voiced by residents in numerous letters to the editor to Spotlight Newspapers, Ballston town councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes said she would serve on the Saratoga County Water Authority as the voice for Ballston.
I think it is really important to advocate for Ballston residents on the board, Hynes said.
Hynes said Tuesday night, Jan. 30, following the agenda board meeting, that it is important for Ballston residents to have a say on the county board because they committed to purchasing a minimum of 375,000 gallons of water a day from the county system when the board voted to sign the contract last March.
Due to an overlooked contractual amendment, Ballston is also contracted with the town of Glenville to buy a minimum of 36.5 million gallons of water per year until Dec. 31, 2019.
Much of the opposition to Hynes becoming a member of the county committee is from residents who said Hynes, as an attorney and board member, should have more closely scrutinized the Saratoga County water plan so as not to enter the town into two water contracts.
In a Jan. 24 letter to the editor, Ballston resident Matthew Malinoski wrote: `Mrs. Hynes and the 2007 Ballston Board trapped the taxpayers of Ballston into two water contracts.`
Both Malinowski and Burnt Hills resident Paul Hill questioned the political motivation behind Hynes’ appointment.
Also in a Jan. 24 letter to the editor, Hill wrote: `How did Mary Beth Hynes, who lock-step voted to swap out our current water supply to Hudson River water get appointed to the Saratoga County Water Authority?`
Hynes was a council member and voted with the rest of the board unanimously to enter the contract with the county water system in 2007, despite public outcry. Neither the Glenville contract nor the county contract has an escape clause.
`My role on the County Water Authority is separate, and apart from the two water contracts,` said Hynes.
She said that when sitting on the board, she is primarily a council member, and that the new town attorney, not yet appointed, will have the final say on how to resolve the town’s two water contracts.
`Once we hire a new town attorney, I would like that individual’s view on the issue,` said Hynes.
Although she is an attorney, she said that when they entered into the two contracts, she was acting as a councilwoman, and not an attorney.
`I would prefer that we have one contract, but it could work with both,` she said.
Hynes said there is a lot of misinformation about the water source floating around Saratoga County, and while she is not completely up to speed on all the figures, she plans to study the numbers and projections so that she can help get the Saratoga County water plan off the ground.
`I want to get deeper into this information, so that I can bring correct information to the town,` Hynes said.
Hynes said that several residents think the water would be drawn from an area on the Hudson River that is laden with PCBs. However, Hynes said the water will be drawn only a few feet from where Queensbury has drawn its water for several years, and that all of their water is tested to ensure its cleanliness.
`We can all talk about AMD [Advanced Micro Devices] and logistics, but I don’t want people to think we are drawing water from substandard areas,` she said.
Saratoga County Water Authority Chairman Jack Lawler stood by Hynes’ appointment.
`She is an experienced and talented elected official, who will be an asset to the water authority based on her experience on the town board and as an attorney,` said Lawler.“