Ballston plans water district consolidation

Officials say bevy of extensions too cumbersome

— Officials in the Town of Ballston are hoping to make managing the town’s water system less complicated and more equitable by consolidating extensions.

The primary water district in the town, Water District 2, could soon add its 22nd extension in Timber Creek, a housing development that is starting Phase II of construction. Officials said these extensions are creating a massive headache for the town when it comes to billing and determining a fair and equitable distribution of debt. An ever-expanding water system is both good and bad, said Water Superintendent Joe Whalen.

“More extensions mean more users, more customers and more revenue from those customers,” said Whalen. “But certain extensions are profiting from other extensions and not paying their fair share. If the water district was consolidated, it would mean that they would have to start paying their fair share.”

Whalen said he finds all of these extensions extremely difficult to manage, especially when crafting a budget, in which officials must decide which districts or extensions should pay for capital improvements like construction of a water pump, or be billed for repairs.

Water District 2 was established back in the 1970s. The first extension made to Water District 2 was No. 7. Numbers 3 and 4 are in the village of Ballston Spa and Nos. 5 and 6 are in Glenville.

Since that first extension, 14 more extensions have been created off of Water District 2. Whalen is still amazed by how quickly the extensions have grown.

“This is my 11th year as water superintendent,” he said. “When I first started, there were approximately 1,100 to 1,200 customers. Now, there are 2,060 customers. That is 100 percent growth.”

The situation is made even more complicated in that extensions were sometimes added to existing extensions, making some of them isolated and difficult to consolidate.

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