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Saratoga Springs water rate hike on hold

The department is proposing raising the city's one-time basic rate for water service from $7 to $10.

The increases are the second of such in two years as the number of users in the city and the amount of water they use continues to drop, said Anthony "Skip" Scirocco, Department of Public Works commissioner.

"It's a situation where usage has decreased. It's created a problem. A lot of the new buildings in the city have helped to create this problem. We don't sell the water we used to," said Scirocco in an earlier interview.

The past two years, new technology and water conservation efforts have made good on cutting back on water consumption. Last year and this year, water and sewer rates have had to increase as usage decreases and the cost of maintaining the city's aging water infrastructure increases in both cost and frequency, said Scirocco.

The problem was pointed out in a city audit last year that called for a financial safety net for the water system, he said. The need has come and the safety net isn't quite as strong as city officials would like.

There are several projects in the works, scheduled to break ground in the spring, to update city water mains to bolster supply in older areas of Saratoga Springs, Scirocco said. Also the city stands to lose large water users, such as the thoroughbred track.

This summer, as part of capital improvements, the Saratoga Racecourse will drill wells to draw its own water. City water will continue to be used at many stables, said Scirocco.

But the infield lake, that drew upon city water and leaked "like a sieve," will be patched up and filled, he said. Also the city will be losing a portion of sales to the town of Wilton as its neighbor to the north expands its own municipal water lines to the Interstate 87, Exit 15 commercial area, said McTygue.

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