BALLSTON: Oversight gives town of Ballston two water suppliers

An overlooked four-sentence contract clause, not reviewed until after a vote by the Ballston town council to sign on as the largest customer of the future Saratoga County Water System, binds Ballston's 1,858 water users to the town of Glenville water system as customers until as late as 2022.

A one-page amendment made in 2002 to a long-standing contract between the neighboring towns removed the release clause of 36 months' advance notice by either party. Ballston Town Attorney Carlton Potts said the change was made to give the towns the flexibility to disengage in less than 36 months. However, no terms were put back in the contract stipulating how either town could end the business deal.

We knew we were under contract, but I had forgotten most of the parts of the amendment, Potts said in discussions with Supervisor Ray Callanan; board member Harold Townley; Wes Carr, a project manager on the county water system; and Spotlight staff on Monday, Oct. 29, at Ballston Town Hall. "In retrospect, I don't know an attorney that wouldn't change the wording on those terms, including Thomas Jefferson, but we are where we are today."

Ballston officials said Monday night they are confident, however, they will be able to negotiate a release date with Glenville that will prevent overlapping contracts from two water suppliers. They also pointed out that the county water contract has no start date.

Potts has called to set up an initial meeting with Glenville to discuss the contract.

"The first step is communication between the town lawyers," said Callanan.

While Glenville Mayor Frank Quinn agreed that the lawyers will work on the contract, he isn't looking at a release date.

"We are definitely looking to hold Ballston to the contract exactly the way it is written," Quinn said Monday night, Oct. 29. "We invested considerable money in upgrading our system and part and parcel of why we made those millions of dollars of upgrades was based on that contract and those terms. We've turned it over to our attorneys at this time and we'll see where it goes."

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