Water for sale? Goshen weighs whether to sell the resource to other towns

Goshen. The board also introduced a proposal to reduce heavy truck traffic on Houston Road.

Goshen /
| 29 Nov 2023 | 12:21

At the November 27 Goshen Town Board meeting, members introduced a local law that, if passed, will lower the vehicle weight limit on Houston Road. The law is being proposed on the grounds that the road was not originally built to withstand the weight of commercial vehicles. “It’s destroying our roads,” noted one board member during the initial discussion on the matter.

As of November 2023, the vehicle weight limit for Houston Road is five tons. If passed, the law could also improve traffic safety in the area by eliminating oversized vehicles on the bypass.

Houston Road directly connects Maple Avenue to 17A, and members of the town board noted that popular navigation apps like Waze will often reroute commercial vehicles through the residential road in order to save driving time. The board added that there are a number of local schools in the area of Houston Road, which makes it a likely spot for children to be getting on and off busses, walking or driving to school, etc. The board appeared unanimously enthusiastic about the proposal, and noted prior instances of unsafe driving, and local police ticketing three axle vehicles on Houston.

A single Goshen police officer reportedly issued 20 tickets on Houston Road over a two-day period, while another officer issued over 60 speeding tickets on the same road — the board did not specify the timeframe. A date for the public hearing on this proposal has not yet been determined; however, it will mostly likely be held December 22.

The board later discussed a proposed amendment to Local Law 11; which, if passed, would allow for the municipality to sell excess water to neighboring towns. With Goshen currently sitting on an excess of well water, Goshen Supervisor Joseph Betro explained that there is currently a document being drafted that once signed will allow for a reciprocal water sharing deal with the city of Middletown. The initial action subsequent to the agreement will include Middletown diverting 280,000 gallons of water to the town of Goshen, which they could potentially sell for profit.

Betro claims that this will be an efficient method of creating revenue that will be used for the development of town projects. Fellow board member Douglas Bloomfield challenged Betro’s notion, claiming that municipalities profiting off of water, or other necessary resources, is an unethical practice. Bloomfield argued that such engagements could create an ultra-competitive environment where resources are commodified, and taxpayers ultimately lose out.

“It’s not what you do,” he told Betro, as the two hashed out their differences in a commendable manner. Betro remained steadfast in his stance that the valuable resource could help pay for needed town improvements, while Bloomfield’s approach was rooted in a concern over the precedent being set by such engagement. An official public hearing date has not yet been set, but is also believed to be December 22.