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Guilderland approves new water contract

The Guilderland Town Board unanimously passed a motion to adopt a new water contract saving the town thousands of dollars and allowing for the possibility of a joint water treatment facility in future.

The city of Watervliet must approve its end of the contract before it is official. The contract will go until Dec. 31, 2028.

It's pretty standard for contracts of those sorts, William West, water superintendent said. West said Guilderland and Watervliet renegotiated their contract, originally signed in 1993. Under the new contract, Guilderland is required to use newer, more accurate water meters. West said under the old contract, Guilderland could have seen a rate increase in three years from 49 cents per 1,000 gallons on water a day to upwards of 75 cents per 1,000 gallons of water per day in three years if a new contract was not renegotiated.

Town Supervisor Ken Runion said the next billing cycle would see a $140,000 increase if the new contract had not been approved.

He said the way the language was penned in the contract signed in 1993, the Consumer Product Index was based and compounded from 1993 and would jump 3 percent after 2000 for every year since 1993, making it an 18 percent jump. Every three years after that, West said, the language was ambiguous, but seemed to indicate that the jump would be based on the CPI from 1993, not 2000, causing increases to compound each time they rose.

"In three years we would have been nailed," he said.

West also said that under the 1993 contract, the town paid for a minimum of 4 million gallons of water per day, but if they averaged more than that for one month, even by a little, the new minimum became 5 million gallons per day.

Under the new contract, the town must average more than 4 million gallons for two full months before the minimum is raised, and it would only go up in smaller increments if that happened.

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