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What you need to know for 08/18/2017

Saratoga County sewer rates to remain the same

Saratoga County sewer rates to remain the same

County sewer rates won’t rise under a 2013 rate plan now under review by the county sewer commission

County sewer rates won’t rise under a 2013 rate plan now under review by the county sewer commissioners.

Even with rates remaining the same, the county sewer district will see about $500,000 in additional revenue, thanks to new hook-ups and increasing water use at the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Malta.

“I don’t like to raise rates unless we really have to,” said sewer commission Chairman William J. Davis. “It really reflects well on the people down at the plant, that they’re keeping costs down.”

The last time customer rates went up was in 2010, when they were raised $10 per connection to cover the financing of a $52 million treatment plant expansion.

The sewer rate customers pay varies widely from community to community, based on the cost of operating the local collection systems. Under the proposed 2013 rates, they will range from $157 per connection in Mechanicville to $263 per connection around Saratoga Lake. The average rate is about $180 per connection.

The proposed rates would generate about $13 million for operating the sewer district, the bulk of the revenue the district receives.

The district, which serves the Northway corridor communities from Wilton south to Clifton Park with a treatment plant in Halfmoon, currently has about 73,700 customer connections. That’s up from 71,000 a year ago.

District figures show the number of connections has grown in the last year in Wilton, Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park, and that GlobalFoundries is also using more industrial water — and hence discharging more to the sewer system — than a year ago.

“They’re pretty good,” Davis said of the $6.9 billion chip plant. “We’re getting more than 3 million gallons a day from them now.”

A public hearing on the proposed rates will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the county board meeting rooms in Ballston Spa. The sewer commissioners will meet immediately afterward, and probably approve them.

The district’s proposed 2013 budget won’t be released until Wednesday, as part of the tentative 2013 county budget’s release. But Davis said he expects the spending plan to include the borrowing necessary for an $18 million project to expand capacity around Saratoga Lake, and extend sewer service down routes 4 and 32 in Halfmoon. The construction contracts for that project were recently approved.

Davis said he also expects to learn in November whether the county Board of Supervisors will accept a $59,800 offer from the district to buy just under 15 acres that the district wants at the county landfill site in Northumberland.

The plan is to build a second sewage treatment plant there that would serve the northern part of the county.

If the land offer is accepted, Davis said he expects the sewer district within a few months to take the next step — hiring an engineer to develop plans for the new plant.

“We’ll hire an engineer to give us some idea what we’re facing to build a new plant,” he said.

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