Saratoga County sewer rates recommended to stay unchanged
SARATOGA COUNTY County sewer use rates won’t change in 2013.
County sewer commissioners on Wednesday approved rates that average $180 per connection, though they vary widely from community to community.
“We raised the rate once in nine years’ time and that was for the $52 million plant expansion. We have a pretty good record,” sewer commission Chairman William J. Davis said at a public hearing in Ballston Spa. No one from the public spoke at the hearing.
The planned rates still must be approved by the county Board of Supervisors, as part of the 2013 county budget.
The proposed sewer district budget for next year is about $15 million. In addition to user charges, the district gets revenue from private sewage haulers and from inspections paid for by land developers.
Even with rates remaining the same, the county sewer district will collect about $500,000 in additional revenue — for a total of $13.1 million — thanks to new hookups and increasing water use at the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Malta.
The last time customer rates went up was in 2010, when they were raised $10 per connection to cover the financing of the $52 million expansion at the county treatment plant in Halfmoon.
The rate varies considerably from community to community, based on the cost of operating the local collection systems. Under the planned 2013 rates, they will range from $157 per connection in Mechanicville to $263 per connection for households around Saratoga Lake.
The district currently has about 73,700 customer connections. Because of additional development and industrial use by the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Malta, that’s up from 71,000 a year ago.
Also Wednesday, the commissioners voted to offer Saratoga County $98,580 for nearly 15 acres the county owns at the county landfill site in Northumberland.
The district wants to build a second sewage treatment plant there, one that would serve the northern part of the county.
Davis said county officials want to receive as much as they paid when they purchased the land in 1996, and the district is agreeing to pay that price.
The county Board of Supervisors will consider whether to accept the offer later this month.
The county owns 113 acres at the site, where a landfill was built but has never opened. Supervisors are currently considering proposals to sell or lease the landfill to a private operator, and have told bidders that a sewer treatment plant may be built on the site.
If the land offer is accepted, Davis said last week that he expects the sewer district within a few months to hire an engineering firm to develop plans for the new plant.
Also Wednesday, sewer district Executive Director Chad Cooke said initial work on an $18.4 million sewer expansion may start within the next couple of weeks. The contract with Kingsley Arms of Schaghticoke covers extending sewer service down Routes 4 and 32 in Halfmoon, and expanding service capacity around Saratoga Lake.
Cooke said directional drilling along the state highway in Halfmoon will start within a few weeks, but most of the work around Saratoga Lake won’t be done until 2013. The project won’t be finished until 2014.