Towns finalize water deal

New Scotland will buy water from Bethlehem to form new district

— A long-awaited plan to bring water service to New Salem residents has cleared its final planning hurdle.

The New Scotland and Bethlehem town boards each approved an intermunicipal water supply agreement for the newly formed New Salem Water District on Wednesday, June 12. The district generally encompasses the hamlet of New Salem and will bring water service to about 170 homes.

The cost of designing and constructing the district in New Scotland cannot exceed $3.05 million, which will largely be provided through an interest-free loan to be paid back in 30 years. Bethlehem is kicking in $152,000 for constructing the district, as well.

The purchase agreement is for 30 years.

New Scotland can purchase up to 11 million gallons of water per year at the rate of $2.27 per1,000 gallons. The rate will increase annually per the change in the consumer price index. Additional water up to 13 million gallons annually can be purchased at twice the normal rate.

“It is a great agreement both for the Town of New Scotland and for the Town of Bethlehem,” Bethlehem Supervisor John Clarkson said.

New Scotland Supervisor Tom Dolin said initial negotiations started around 9 million gallons annually, but the town was able to negotiate to a more comfortable 11 million gallons, with the extra safeguard.

“It is above what we are experiencing in other existing water districts,” Dolin said, “so I am feeling comfortable that we can at least guarantee customers a reasonable amount of water at that rate so they won’t feel they have to skimp.”

The district must be connected to the Bethlehem Water District pipeline along Route 85, which will involve the building of a meter pit, a booster pump station, a 200,000 gallon water tank adjacent to New Scotland’s highway garage, two pressure reducing values and the installation of approximately 16,700 linear feet of 8-inch pipe.

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