Village to save thousands by scaling back water purchase contract with SCWA

The village expects to save more than $50,000 per year after reaching an agreement this month with the Saratoga County Water Authority (SCWA) to lower its 6-year-old water purchase contract by 65,000 gallon a day.

The Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution (pdf) on Feb. 16 to amend the original SCWA contract signed in 2010 after the village discovered its Hudson River drinking water supply had been contaminated by General Electric PCBs.

That contract required the village to purchase at least 300,000 gallons of water per day from the SCWA at a cost of $2.17 per gallon. But back in October a leak was found in the water supply line at the top of Ferry Lane. Since that leak has been repaired the village’s water usage has dropped from 9-10 million gallons per month to 6-7 million gallons per month.

This prompted the village to seek a reduction in its required water purchase amount with SCWA from 300,000 gallons to 235,000 gallons per day. The change is expected to reduce the village’s water budget expenditures by more than $4,300 per month or about $52,000 annually.

“So we saved ourselves some money there,” Mayor Rick Nelson told Village Trustees, after they approved the contract change.

In other water-related business, the village has decided to delay the Hillside water tank improvement project so it can reapply for a state grant to help finance the work. In December, Village Engineer Ed Hernandez said the village was unsuccessful in its first attempt to obtain funding in 2015 to help pay two-thirds of the $550,000 total cost to replace the tank and a water line between the tank and Lake Road. The water tank has corroded and reached the end of its service life.

The village engineering staff will reapply for 2016 New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act funds and submit its grant application by April 15. Grants are announced after July 1. Applications are rated and awarded to municipalities who “prove they have the most need,” explained Trustee Judith Wood-Shaw, who is helping with the new grant application.

In other business Feb. 16:

Village Trustees set registration fees as part of its new Vacant Building Law approved at the January board meeting. Faced with a growing number of abandoned buildings in the village due to foreclosures, bank repossessions, etc., the law will help “establish a baseline” for how vacant buildings will be looked at and regulated going forward. Property registration fees were set at $1,000 for the first year, $1,250 for the second year, and $1,500 for the third year and beyond.

Stillwater Boy Scouts volunteered to paint the old village flower boxes now in storage, plant the boxes and set them up along Hudson Avenue in time for the April Bicentennial celebration. Boy Scouts will solicit businesses to sponsor a flower box and have volunteered to weed them and keep them clean as a community service project. The village will be in charge of watering the flowers.

Village Trustees set a public hearing date of March 15, at 7 p.m., to comment on the proposed 2016-17 fiscal year budget, which is available during business hours for review at the office of the Village Clerk.