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Public hearing to mull water rate hike

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A public hearing will be held Jan. 16 to consider a proposed hike in the water rates in the town of Greenville. Courtesy of Pexels

GREENVILLE — The town council has scheduled a public hearing to consider a proposed hike in the water rate.

Water users currently pay $56.20 a quarter for using up to 10,000 gallons, or $5.62 for every 1,000 gallons.

If the proposed rate hike is enacted, the rate would increase to $6.50 for every 1,000 gallons, or $65 each quarter.

Water bills are sent out in the middle of the month in January, April, July and October. The new rate, if it is approved, would likely be implemented with the April bill.

This is the first time water rates have gone up since 2007, Town Supervisor Paul Macko said at the Dec. 19 town council meeting.

“The town water rates haven’t changed in 15 years,” Macko said. “Anybody that is running a household knows how much electric has gone up for residential and it has gone up equally, or even more, for commercial users.”

The cost of both utilities and supplies to operate the plant have increased, he added.

“Water plants and sewer plants traditionally use a lot of electric and chemicals are hard to come by,” Macko noted. “There is a shortage of chlorine and suppliers, and when there is short supply, you are at the mercy of the increased prices.”

The price of chlorine has risen by about 80%, Macko said.

Deputy Water Superintendent Renee Hamilton agreed.

“Yes, and so is the delivery [cost],” Hamilton said.

The public hearing to gather comments from the community will be held Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m., prior to the town board’s next meeting.

In other town news, the town council is moving forward with plans to purchase a five-acre tract of land on Irving Road for $1. The property owner, Jack Van Auken, is essentially donating the property to the town for the construction of a new rescue squad building.

The town council moved forward with hiring a firm to survey the land.

“I heard from the Great Outdoors Land Surveying Company from Altamont, New York, to get in and do the survey on the piece of property on Irving Road that Jack Van Auken is going to donate to the town to build a rescue squad building,” the town supervisor said.

Macko said he inquired about getting the survey done through Santos Associates, based in Catskill, but they are booked up for the next few months.

“Santos told me they couldn’t get in probably for eight to nine months to do it,” Macko said.

The Altamont-based company will also assist Van Auken with moving through the planning board process as a lot line adjustment is needed for the transaction.

“The terms are basic services with a lump sum of around $2,900 to do everything, and that includes assisting Jack Van Auken at the planning board for the altered lot line and all the other things that go along with it,” Macko said. “A deposit of $1,450 is required prior to commencement of the work.”

The five-acre property on Irving Road will be used for construction of a new emergency services building to house the Greenville Rescue Squad, which has been operating out of a small building off Route 32 for years and has outgrown the space.

Construction of the building is expected to cost between $750,000 and $4 million, Macko said in November.

The preliminary concept for the building is for the town to possibly build a modular structure with three bays in the garage to house the squad’s ambulances and for a flycar, but the project’s parameters are still in the very early stages.

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