Saratoga County Water Authority to increase wholesale municipal rates

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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— The Saratoga County Water Authority is proposing a 1.5 percent wholesale municipal water rate increase for next year.

The hike from $2.08 to $2.11 per 1,000 gallons was anticipated as part of the business plan for the authority and won’t come as a surprise to the authority’s municipal customers.

A public hearing on the proposed increase will take place at 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, in the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors meeting rooms in Ballston Spa.

The authority, which began operations in 2010, sells water to the towns of Ballston, Wilton and Clifton Park and the village of Stillwater. Those municipalities in turn sell water to customers through local distribution systems.

The authority’s largest customer, the GlobalFoundries Fab 8 computer chip plant in Malta, has a separate contract under which it will be paying $2.50 per 1,000 gallons in 2013.

The authority, which takes its water from the upper Hudson River upstream from Glens Falls, is currently selling about 3.67 million gallons a day, according to acting Executive Director Ed Hernandez. It needs to be selling about 5 million gallons a day to break even, he said, and had hoped to be close to that number by now.

“We had anticipated Global would be taking much more water by now,” he said.

Officials hope sales to GlobalFoundries — which have fluctuated this year between 1.4 million and 2 million gallons per day — will rise significantly next year, as Fab 8 moves from test production into full commercial production.

Under the business plan, it was anticipated Saratoga County would have to underwrite up to $4.8 million in operating losses during the authority’s early years. For next year, authority officials have said they anticipate needing only a $550,000 subsidy from the county, down from a $2.4 million subsidy it is receiving this year.

The authority’s 2013 budget totals $4.75 million, including $2 million in operating expenses and $2.6 million in debt payments on the water system, which cost $67 million to build.

Written comments on the proposed rate increase may be sent to the authority office at 260 Butler Road, Gansevoort, NY 12831.

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