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BALLSTON: Glenville to hold town to contract

The Glenville water system is also a back-up provider for the towns of Rexford and Clifton Park. These contracts end in 2009 and are currently under negotiations.

Town of Clifton Park supervisor Phil Barrett said his town is set for providing their own water independently.

"We've had a good quantity of water, although in the next 10 years or so we may need an additional source," said Barrett. "As far as our contract with Glenville, they'll need a competitive offer as far as price."

Barrett referred other questions to Clifton Park Water Authority (CPWA) Chairman Helmut Gerstenberger.

Clifton Park is contracted with Glenville to buy a minimum of 4 million gallons per year to maintain its transmission lines and prevent stagnant water. Clifton Park has the option of buying up to 750,000 gallons a day from Glenville in case of emergency.

"Municipalities such as ours always look for redundant water sources, and we also have the town of Halfmoon right now that can provide us with water in an emergency," said Gerstenberger.

Gerstenberger said he has been talking with town attorneys for several days about how the Ballston contract could affect Clifton Park, and is glad his town's water supply is ample.

"We still have enough water in our system; we use 3 million gallons a day, and at the highest, double that a day during peak summer months," said Gerstenberger.

Gerstenberger was vocal about Clifton Park's decision not to sign onto the county water plan. In 2005, the Clifton Park Water Authority was the first municipality to forward a letter of intent to the county to pay $1.90 per 1,000 gallons at a fixed rate until the year 2015. Gerstenberger said talks broke down and an agreement was never reached.

"The county never formally accepted our offer, and for a year we went back and forth until June 2006, when we walked away," said Gerstenberger. "They were looking for $2.05 per 1,000 gallons with no guarantee of a fixed rate. The CPWA determined that was much too risky, and from our standpoint, our Glenville and Halfmoon contracts were more than adequate."

Alec Mackey, president of the privately owned Saratoga Water Services, has been a longtime protestor of the county water system. Mackey said he was not surprised to learn of a contractual problem that could affect the county system in a negative way.

"Since 1990, the county has been trying to justify that system, and it's appalling how officials have ramrodded it down taxpayers' backs," said Mackey. "I guarantee the costs for this system will come from the towns' general funds; it won't just be water customers who pay for this horrendously expensive system once it falls apart."

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