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SARATOGA SPRINGS: Water authority gets boss

The Saratoga County Water Authority has its first executive director.

William Simcoe of Albany, who has been the assistant water commissioner for the city of Albany was appointed the first executive director of the Saratoga County Water Authority Aug. 20. He has worked for the city of Albany for a total of 11 years.

There aren't that many opportunities to be involved in such a large project where things are being done all at once, he said at a water authority meeting in Wilton.

Simcoe is a professional engineer who has also worked for area engineering firms Rist-Frost Associates and C.T. Male. He is expected to take the reins of the authority in early September. His initial salary will be $82,500.

Also at the Wilton meeting, Water Authority Chairman John E. Lawler said the authority is about to receive $2.5 million from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. This will be the first payment on an $11 million state grant to pay for some of the construction costs, he said.

The water authority also announced that it has rented an office in a commercial building at 357 Milton Ave., Ballston Spa, until a permanent administration building is built at the water treatment site in Moreau.

The authority will be overseeing construction and operation of the county water system. The county's plan is to draw water from the Hudson River aquifer in Moreau and pipe it along the Northway to the southern end of the county, where it will serve the Luther Forest Technology Campus. It has an estimated price tag of $67 million and depends on a $4.8 million loan from the county general fund until the plant is in its seventh year of operation.

In February, the county approved a business plan calling for the authority to have contracts to sell 3 million gallons per day before construction starts. Since then, the towns of Wilton and Ballston have signed contracts, with the SEDC signing on behalf of Luther Forest tenants, including the proposed Advanced Micro Devices chip fabrication plant. Together, those contracts will total 3.2 million gallons a day.

The state and AMD in March signed an agreement that would see a $3.2 billion plant constructed between 2007 and 2009, but the chip fab company hasn't signed a water purchase contract. AMD has an agreement with the state to receive $1.2 billion in incentives if it starts plant construction by July 2009.""

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