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Ballston plans water district consolidation

Officials say bevy of extensions too cumbersome

— At a Wednesday, Dec. 12, meeting, members of the Ballston Town Board discussed ways to do away with the system and put something more sensible in place.

“There is even a possibility of obtaining a state grant for funding the consolidation because New York State encourages consolidation,” said Supervisor Patti Southworth. “They would like to see less special districts and less extensions in towns.”

The board invited Ed Volpelak of C.T. Male and Associates to discuss the possible project. Volpelak gave a brief history of the complex water district.

“As you can see, there’s a lot of different parts to this and has gotten pretty complicated,” he said. “It is a pain to do what’s required to spread the expense around, to track the maintenance going to which district, what maintenance should be spread over the whole district, the assessor has to determine the rolls, the clerk has to maintain all the expense. That’s a lot of paperwork. The thought is to try to consolidate the districts to make that easier and then so some things that will probably make the costs more fair, because things have gotten out of whack with what you have done so far.”

Volpelak said the process of consolidation is fairly simple. Several towns have consolidated recently, including Niskayuna and Guilderland, both of which had 21 extensions. The Town Board would have to pass a resolution and hold a public hearing to go ahead with the consolidation, and could hold a public referendum, though that is not a necessary step.

Volpelak said the board could take a number of different courses. The town could consolidate just operational expenses, consolidate debt or both.

“A lot of things that happened benefited everybody, but not everybody paid for those benefits,” said Volpelak. “The town is trying to make things fair.”

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