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August 6, 2017

Niagara Water Protectors march across Goat Island to highlight water’s sanctity

“Life is Water! Water is Life!”

On Saturday, Niagara’s Water Protectors called attention to the thousands of gallons of untreated sewer water and filter backwash discharged into the Lower Niagara River last week, taking place in front of hundreds of tourists — some of whom got sick, according to reports.

“Life is water! Water is life!” is what the marchers shouted out again and again in front of a different set of hundreds of tourists. They marched one mile onto Goat Island, to Terrapin Point, and then back across to the bridge.

At first, I was there as an observer, [...]

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August 4, 2017

Could more oversight have prevented Water Board disaster in Niagara River?

While definitive answers were nowhere to be found Thursday when N.F. Water Board chairman Dan O’Callaghan (above) read a statement about Saturday’s expulsion of carbon backwash into the Niagara River — a possible criminal action as well as an unmitigated public-relations disaster — there is one thing we know …

Concerned residents, city officials and council members who want to attend water board meetings to observe and provide input cannot unless they are willing to forgo the same opportunity or responsibility to be at Niagara Falls City Council meetings.

Council member Kenny Tompkins recently said he was planning to speak [...]

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February 26, 2017

“New era” dawning for N.F. rate payers after highly contentious water board meeting?

His first words as a member of the Niagara Falls Water Board were, “You promise?”

Nick Forster, (above center) head of the Niagara County Democratic Committee, lifelong Niagara Falls resident, and the Niagara Falls Common Council’s new appointment to the five-member water board, asked that question of a resident hoping for consideration and leniency regarding his sky-high water bills after leaving his tap on — way too much it turned out — to guard against freezing pipes.

“Somebody will take care of it,” Forster said. “Somebody will look into it.”

Soon after that, a series of last-minute walk-on resolutions were voted [...]

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September 23, 2016

Ottaviano says overpaid millions should stay at N.F. water board; Touma wants rates reduced

There’s an extra $3.4 million in the Niagara Falls Water Board’s bottom line.

The question is: what to do with it?

Water Board General Counsel John Ottaviano recommended the money should remain in-house to handle unforeseen expenses and loss of revenue.

“We have a $500,000 deductible,” he said during Thursday’s Niagara Falls Water Board meeting. “As your counsel, I recommend earmarking that $500,000 so we don’t have to go searching for that if it should happen in the future. It’s only prudent.”

Ottaviano said the money could be set aside to offset declining revenue from the closing of the former [...]

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