City water users to see annual rate hike

Water users in the city will see a $30 increase in yearly rates next year unless the city finds othe

Water users in the city will see a $30 increase in yearly rates next year unless the city finds other revenues in the water fund, Controller Heather Reynicke said.

The Common Council approved an $8 million, no interest, 30-year loan Tuesday for upgrades to the city’s water treatment plant.

The loan is about $2 million more than the project’s original cost estimate.

Project engineer Tom Bates of McDonald Engineering said the loan application was first put together two years ago. Since then, the state Department of Heath has imposed “numerous regulatory changes,” that the plant will have to meet.

“Things have to be brought up to their standards,” Bates said.

For example, DOH is mandating that the plant have a new standby generator which, Bates said, would cost a few hundred thousand dollars.

Bates said under the pre-application process the city had a commitment from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for $6.1 million, but as the project went further into the application process DOH suggested newer, better technologies and then asked for more concrete cost estimates. Bates said further engineering studies revealed that it would actually cost about $8 million to upgrade the plant and keep it up to date for the next 20 years.

Plant upgrades include the addition of a holding tank that would let the organic and harmful substances settle before being filtered out. The upgrade would also include better filtration technology and techniques.

Construction is scheduled to begin on the project next spring. Bates said he hopes prices don’t increase much more over the next year. He said construction estimates are tough to calculate right now, especially with the cost of metal piping and plastics increasing because of the skyrocketing cost of oil.

“We’re in good shape now,” he said. “We plan to go out to bid when contractors are hungry.”

The city currently sells water to the towns of Amsterdam and Florida. Outside water users pay about one-and-a-half times the city’s user rate.

Reynicke suggested marketing water to other municipalities, including those in Saratoga County, where the city’s Glen Wild reservoir is located.

Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., which is expected to use 1 million gallons of city water a day, is expected to complete its new facility at the Florida Business Park by summer 2009 and be fully operational by spring 2010.

The city is hoping to generate $1.5 million of revenue by selling water and sewer services to Beech Nut.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply