Comptroller delivers $1 million check for village reservoir clean-up

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:48

    WARWICK-Everyone was all smiles at Village Hall last Friday as New York State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi and state Sen. Thomas Morahan presented a $1 million check to the village for clean-up of contamination in its reservoirs. Mayor Michael Newhard compared Warwick to Bedford Falls, the fictitious town in the classic film ‘It's a Wonderful Life.' "I can't help but think of George Bailey in ‘It's a Wonderful Life,'" said Newhard. "Warwick is not dissimilar to Bedford Falls. Every time George enters old man Gower's drugstore, he makes this wish and declaration, ‘I wish I had a million dollars!' Well, sometimes wishes come true." The $1 million from the state Oil Spill Fund, which is administered by Hevesi, will cut the debt from the reservoir dredging by half, he added. Hevesi administers the state's $23 million Oil Spill Fund, which is used to pay for cleaning up petroleum spills in New York State. "I am pleased that the Oil Spill Fund is able to assist the Village of Warwick in its efforts to clean its reservoirs and provide residents with a safe, reliable source of drinking water," Hevesi said. "I especially want to thank Senator Morahan who has been a tremendous advocate for the people of Warwick." The mayor seconded that notion. Newhard spent one cold, winter night at Orange County Community College more than a year ago at a teleconference run through the state comptroller's office entitled "Where's the Money?" The presentation dealt with different funds, some little known, through the state. Newhard heard of the Oil Spill Fund and decided to look into it for the village's dredging project. Soon after the teleconference, Newhard filed the claim with the Oil Spill Fund Committee. That was the beginning. And last Friday, although the village already received the actual check about two weeks ago, the signing ceremony was the happy ending Newhard and the Village Board was looking for. Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt also gave some credit to Newhard for finding the money. "I deal with a lot of mayors and supervisors now that I'm up in Albany," said Rabbitt. "Mayor Newhard is one of the most dedicated mayors I've ever seen." The dredging project, which began in the summer of 2002, started innocently enough as a three-month project to widen a spillway and increase the water capacity of reservoir one. During routine testing of the reservoir's silt, a contaminating petroleum product was found in that reservoir as well as reservoir 2. The village switched to its wells for water and began a clean-up that turned the $400,000 project into one that ended up costing the village more than $2 million.