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December 27, 2017 - 12:51pm

Batavia Town Board to meet Thursday to consider amended water agreement

Lawyers for Genesee County and the Town of Batavia are in the final stages of drafting an amended and restated water agreement – a document that, if completed in time, will be considered by the Town Board at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

According to Genesee County Attorney Kevin Earl, the amended agreement that will govern the Town’s water usage will focus on making sure the municipality (and all towns and villages in the county, for that matter) understand that the county is unable to supply an unlimited amount of water and that the county has the flexibility to increase the surcharge that municipalities pay.

“The county needs the flexibility to increase the surcharge (currently at 60 cents per thousand gallons of water) and ensure that everybody pays the same price,” Earl said. “The restated agreement will have a provision that the county has to give 120 days prior notice to the towns and villages of a price increase and, as part of the master plan, explain why an increase is necessary.”

Earl is working with Batavia Town Attorney Andrew Meier on finalizing the agreement.

County Manager Jay Gsell said that the next phase in the distribution of water calls for an increase of about 2.5 million gallons per day on top of the 8.1 million gallon currently supplied to county users as a result of agreements with the Monroe County Water Authority, Erie County Water Authority and the City’s water treatment facility.

“We’re estimating a surcharge increase of 60 to 80 cents per thousand,” Gsell said, “which is to be used for water system improvements only and to pay off the debt service of $20 million from 1999-2000.”

Gsell noted that future phases over the next five to 10 years are expected to increase the supply to 15 million to 20 million gallons per day.

Should municipalities approve the amended and restated agreements over the next several weeks, the earliest date of any surcharge increase would be June 2018, Earl said, due to the 120-day notice provision.

Earl said the many industrial development projects in the county will drive up the demand for water in the future, and that the county is planning to spend the money required to meet the demand.

Those projects/sites include the STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park) site in the Town of Alabama, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Buffalo East Tech Park, and increased need in areas such as Bethany, Alabama, Darien and Town of Batavia, as well as the possible replacement (to increase the capacity) of the City water plant.

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