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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 4, 2009

New water contract with Watervliet will save Guilderland residents money

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — A water contract with the city of Watervliet that was supposed to last until 2017 is being re-negotiated as the town faces a potentially large increase in water payments, which could affect resident’s water bills.

Watervliet has its reservoir in Guilderland, and the town uses it as its major source of drinking water.

The original contract was drawn up in 1993. The new contract, which the town board unanimously approved at Tuesday’s board meeting, will be effective immediately, and expire in 2028.

Under the old contract, the town, in 2008, paid around 40 cents per 1,000 gallons of water, with a 4-million-gallon-per-day minimum. On July 1, 2009, the price under the old contract would have jumped to 49 cents per thousand gallons. That would have made the water bill $500,000, in comparison with the $362,000 bill from last year.

“The old contract was beneficial during the early years, but in recent years the cost has increased precipitously,” said Supervisor Kenneth Runion.

Under the old contract, a price adjustment was made every three years, and the adjustment formula referred back to the 1993 consumer price index. With the new contract, a price adjustment will be made annually, and the formula will be based on the previous year, which will prevent such dramatic inflation.

The new contract will start out at 50 cents per 1,000 gallons. That is higher than the 49 cents the old contract would have charged for 2009, but, Runion reminded, another price adjustment would have been made in 2012, when the price per 1,000 gallons could go up to almost $1.

Another detriment of the old contract was the minimum water usage agreement. Guilderland paid for a minimum of 4 million gallons per day, but, if the town had used over 4 million on even one day during the contract year, that number would have become the new minimum. The new contract will allow for a two month averaging of use.

“If we go up to 4.2 million on one day, but another day we only use 3.6 million, we’re still averaging under the 4-million-gallon mark, so our minimum payment won’t go up,” Runion said as an example.

In addition to the new contract, the city of Watervliet and the town of Guilderland will split the cost of new, state-of-the-art water meters.

There has been some concern over the accuracy of the meters, according to William West, superindentent of water and wastewater management. The new meters will monitor water use on a real-time basis, rather than calibrating water use annually. The town will no longer have to produce reports for Watervliet, as the new meters will generate them electronically. 

The total cost for the new water meters will be $10,000; Guilderland and Watervliet will each pay $5,000. According to West, the meters are virtually maintenance free.

The contract has been conceptually agreed upon, Runion said, and now that the town board as approved it, the Watervliet City Council will need to do the same. The new contract should go into affect before July 1, when the first bill of the year will be received.

Other business

In other business, the town board voted unanimously to:

— Set a public hearing, for July 7, at 7:30 p.m., for the re-zoning request for a parcel of land located at 2703 Curry Road, from residential to industrial; and,

— Authorize the supervisor to sign a collector’s warrant for the Guilderland water district.

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