Kingston Water Board gets new commissioner

City of Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo has appointed a new commissioner to the Kingston Water Department , HeritagEnergy owner R. Abel Garraghan.

Garraghan’s term begins this month and runs five years until May 31, 2020.

The important but usually unnoticed activities of the ¬†Kingston Water Board became a lightning rod for attention and criticism last year when California-based bottling company Niagara Bottling proposed building a plant at the former IBM site in the Town of Ulster, potentially boosting Kingston’s daily water usage by more than 40 percent by drawing about 1.75 million gallons a day from the city’s reservoir.

On average, the Water Department supplies 4.2 million gallons a day to the City of Kingston.

While Niagara eventually pulled the plug on the $53 million plan after mounting criticism, the ordeal brought renewed public  scrutiny onto the usually quiet water board and the $17.7 million in capital projects on its plate. Kingston Citizens, a local activist group, called for more transparency from the Water Board, that technically operates independently from the City of Kingston.

The group had called for a more open process to nominate members to the Water Board in the Niagara Bottling’s application.

Garraghan, a supporter of Gallo who’s given to his campaign in the past, will replace Alfred Radel who was nominated by former Mayor James Sottile first in in June, 2000 and again by Sottile in June.

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