Village prepares for future water revenue losses

The completion of the Town of Stillwater’s pending water project will cost the village nearly $117,000 in annual revenues to its own water budget beginning in 2016.

Trustee John Basile told the Village Board at its monthly meeting on August 20 that he has calculated the potential shortfall at $116,782 when the town’s contract to buy water from the village ends in February, 2016.

“That pretty significant,” said Basile, and although it is still more than two years away, “I just wanted to inform the board of that so we can plan ahead.”

In the planning process for several years, the town has now approved plans to create new Water District No. 6, installing the necessary piping so it can draw directly from the Saratoga County Water Authority (SCWA). The change will mean the town can buy its water directly from SCWA instead of using the village as a middleman and paying a higher usage rate.

The town purchases nearly 31 million gallons of water from the village annually.

In his Sewer Department report, Basile told trustees he believes the village has secured the five easements needed to begin the work on installing a larger underground pipe that would stretch from Pump Station No. 1 to the water treatment plant. The Village Board approved the work in June after problems surfaced with sewage overflow during three heavy rainstorms. Some 11 inches of rain fell during the month causing two adjacent manholes to overflow with sewage on Bunce Lane on three separate occasions.

To correct the problem, engineers suggested replacing the 6-inch main with a larger circumference pipe, which would offer the capability of nearly doubling the water flow. The new pipe would offer 50 square inches of flow versus 28 square inches.

The new main will be laid between Major Dickinson Avenue and Colonial Road at an estimated cost of $268,000. Of the required easements, two were with Stillwater Central School, and one each with the library, American Legion and a private owner.

In other business, Trustee Ellen Vomacka and project engineers reported that only a small list of items that could be “taken care of in a day” remain to put the wraps on the Hudson Avenue sidewalk project leading to Stillwater Central Schools. The items include a few manhole issues and traffic sign replacements for the most part. There has also been a drainage problem that the village has been working with one resident to correct.

“It’s been quite a long process but in the end I believe this sidewalk will be a real asset to the village,” Vomacka said. “People are using the sidewalk and they are very happy with it.”

Village Trustees also heard the following reports/updates on August 20:

  • Village Clerk Sheristin Tedesco reported that nearly 90 percent of property taxes have been collected to date for the new fiscal year.
  • Trustee Judith Wood-Shaw announced that after a summer hiatus, the village’s monthly Senior Time Program is scheduled to resume on Friday, September 27, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Stillwater Area Community Center.
    Village Historian Linda Sanders reminded residents about the upcoming 9-11 memorial ceremony to be held at 6:30 p.m., September 11th, at the Blockhouse. All are welcome.
  • Village residents living in the Balbolt Court area complained of continual sewage problems there. The village said it is aware of the problem and doing all it can to correct it. Engineering and legal issues involving a subcontractor on the project is to blame, said Mayor Ernest Martin. He assured the residents “we are staying on top of it every day. I’m sick of it (the problem), too,” he said.
  • The Fire Department responded to five alarms in June, four of which were mutual aid calls. The department also conducted five drills during the month, with 31 members attending and conducted fire prevention activities at the Saratoga County Fair.
  • Department of Public Works crews were busy in July and August working on manholes and curbing on Hudson Avenue, mowing grass throughout the village, maintaining the sewer plant, flushing and painting fire hydrants.
    Code Enforcement Officer Lawrence Allen issued two Certificates of Occupancy in July and August, one for an above ground pool on Colonial Road and the second for slab and tie downs for a mobile home on Hullum Road.
  • The Village Board approved a contract not to exceed $5,000 with CPSS Electric for the electrical work involved in the installation of the Aeromax system at the water holding tank on Dick Lynch Road. This is a revised proposal and less than half of the original $10,000 estimate because village Department of Public Works crews are going to take on some of the work now. The board also approved spending up to $2,000 to rent a lift and basket to complete the electrical work in “hard to reach” man-way walk areas that cannot be safely done with a harness. The Aeromax aeration system is being piloted at the Dick Lynch tank to help lower a higher than acceptable formation of “disinfection byproducts” known as Trihalomethanes in the village’s drinking water supply. Trihalomethanes are a byproduct of drinking water disinfection, which is needed to kill harmful organisms before the water can be consumed.
  • Trustees also agreed to issue to a stop work order for a garage addition being built at a residence on Park Avenue because it exceeds the height requirements of the building permit issued by the Code Enforcement Officer. Because the addition is above the height of the original garage structure the owner must seek a variance from the village Zoning Board of Appeals to continue construction.
  • Mayor Ernest Martin reported that the village has taken action to remove “squatters” living in an abandoned garage on Montgomery Place. The original owners had recently moved out due to foreclosure from Citi Corp. After several failed attempts to contact Citi Corp about the matter, the mayor said he contacted the banking commission in Washington, D.C., which will notify the bank about the problem so the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department and Citi Corp can start eviction procedures.
  • The mayor and trustees discussed setting a public hearing date possibly in September on a new local law regarding village residents’ responsibility for maintaining the sidewalks in front of their properties.