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Saratoga County sewer rates to rise under new rate plan

Saratoga County sewer rates to rise under new rate plan

Sewer rates across Saratoga County will rise by $15 per connection under a rate plan approved Thursd
Saratoga County sewer rates to rise under new rate plan

Sewer rates across Saratoga County will rise by $15 per connection under a rate plan approved Thursday by county sewer commissioners.

The increase, which is still subject to approval by the county Board of Supervisors, would bring the average county sewer bill to about $219 per year, though rates actually vary from community to community based on local sewage collection costs.

Additional revenue from the rate increase, about $1.1 million, will go toward capital improvements, including repairs and upgrades to pipes and pumping stations that were built in the 1970s.

"The sewer commission is committed to maintaining a timely long-term plan for the rehabilitation of the (main) sewer line and crucial pump stations," said sewer commission Chairman Wayne A. Howe, of Milton.

The commission has raised rates by $10 per connection in each of the past three years, and commissioner George Cannon voted against the increase during a commission meeting in Ballston Spa.

"I just thought a raise this high, I wasn't comfortable with it," he said afterward. "It's going above what we've done in the past."

The county sewer district budget proposed for next year calls for total spending of $20.1 million.

Sewer District Executive Director Daniel Rourke said capital projects planned for 2017 include replacement of equipment at three pumping stations: in Round Lake, Clifton Park and Halfmoon. Together, they are budgeted for $1.2 million of work.

A $1 million project to install erosion-proof plastic liner inside 3,000 feet of the deteriorating “main trunk line” in Malta will depend on getting the rate increase, Rourke said.

"Here we are at the end of their useful life," Rourke said. "All we can do is maintain reliable service for the county residents, and to do that takes money."

The sewer district serves towns and cities in the southern and central part of the county, from Wilton and Saratoga Springs southward through the Northway corridor. Its treatment plant is in Halfmoon, just outside the city of Mechanicville.

A single-family home is generally one connection, but commercial and industrial uses pay based on multiple units. The GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Malta will remain the district's single-largest customer, with an anticipated bill for industrial wastewater of $2.86 million next year. The plant currently discharges about 2.9 million gallons per day.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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