Water Agreement At Forefront Of Election


In the midst of reaching a long-term settlement on a water supply agreement, the Village of East Williston election on March 15, saw incumbent Christopher Siciliano secure a second four-year term and former Mayor Anthony Casella re-join the board, while their neighbor Williston Park had two incumbents, William Carr and Michael Uttaro, run unopposed.

The three East Williston candidates were seeking two open seats, as now former trustee Robert Vella chose not to seek reelection. His last village board meeting was on March 14.

East Williston's Anthony Casella
East Williston’s Anthony Casella

Siciliano, who ran on the Neighborhood Party, had the winning 399 votes and was up against challengers Casella, on the Better East Williston Party with 256 votes, and Ellen Ritz, a former East Williston school board president, on the Common Sense Party with 79 votes. Casella, having come in second, won the open seat left by Vella.

Siciliano, a life-long East Williston resident, has served in the East Williston Fire Department for more than 30 years, which he joined at age 18, following his graduation from Wheatley High School.

“This is a wonderful village and I’m grateful to serve another four years,” Siciliano said.

Ritz was unavailable for comment.

East Williston's Christopher Siciliano
East Williston’s Christopher Siciliano

In Williston Park, Uttaro received 118 votes and Carr 110 for their second four-year terms—both ran on the Integrity Party. Carr has been a member of Local Union No. 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as an electrician, and has been active with boy scouts, CYO basketball, little league and soccer. Uttaro serves as a Nassau County Assistant Chief Fire Marshall, has served as a block captain for the Williston Park Neighborhood Watch, and is also active with CYO soccer.

“It’s a good feeling to be able to continue serving Williston Park,” Uttaro said. “We have a good combination here on the board.”

Both Siciliano and Casella will receive $2,400 annually, $200 per month, as trustees; Carr and Uttaro receive $7,150 per year.

One of the primary questions on voters’ minds was whether the two villages will come to an agreement on Williston Park supplying East Williston with water over the next 25 years or split apart with East Williston constructing their own well with an estimated cost of $7.5 million and putting the financing of the well to a referendum vote for their residents, which has been coined “parallel paths.” The candidates weighed in during the election on their stance.

As per the agreement, East Williston will purchase water from Williston Park at the current rate of $4.33 per thousand gallons—which is locked until June 2018. Future increases would be kept along the same ratio of East Williston’s rate to the residential rate in Williston Park.

Casella was East Williston Mayor from 1977 to 1995 and has expressed opposition to the well dating back to its first public unveiling in November 2014.

Williston Park's Michael Uttaro
Williston Park’s Michael Uttaro

“I’m very pleased with the tremendous support I’ve received and I look forward to working with the village board,” Casella said, who is opposed to the referendum. “I plan on making a motion to approve and execute the agreement and move onto other things…I think the support I got and being re-elected was a referendum.”

Siciliano has said he supports the agreement that is being finalized, as well as the referendum, and is awaiting to see how the final agreement reads.

Vella, who had been an integral part of the negotiations between the two villages, supported splitting apart from Williston Park as well as the referendum. He gave a farewell statement at the March 14 meeting.

“It’s been an honor to serve all the residents in East Williston, and sit with my fellow board members to discuss many important issues,” Vella said. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to have served as trustee in this beautiful village.”

Williston Park's William Carr
Williston Park’s William Carr

The Williston Park village board, including trustee Carr, have expressed disappointment in East Williston’s decision to still keep the water well option on the table.

“We are agreeing on a water rate in wherever we go up, East Williston goes up, and that’s not changing,” Carr said. “I think this agreement is good for both villages.”

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