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Sticker shock for Seneca Falls water customers

Seneca Falls residents are going to be feeling an increased financial burden as water rates are set to dramatically increase. The Seneca Falls Water Department released an official statement, naming a few key reasons as being the underlying causes for the rate hike. The statement pointed to the number of key resources and assets that the Town of Seneca Falls has in it’s possession, but the urgent need to make repairs to those assets in order to continue the water service residents have grown accustomed.The outline reveals two key issues – both related to an aging infrastructure in the town. Most notably, the water towers on VanRennsalaer Street and the Auburn Road will both need significant repairs to continue operation into the future. The Auburn Road tower needs less work of the two towers, but still will cost $800,000 to repair, as the Water Department cites interior renovation, the need for an active mixing system to be installed, as well as an exterior overcoat – along with minor exterior repairs.The VanRennsalaer tower requires significantly more work. In fact, the Water Department said it “requires more substantial work to save it,” as it needs all of the repairs that the Auburn Road tower requires, in addition to a costly exterior blast. In all, the costs associated with repairing the VanRennsalaer tower will cost $2,028,000 to make the necessary repairs and must be started by 2017 to ensure that the tower can be salvaged.The outline also goes into current costs for daily processing of water. Beyond the upgrades and repairs that are vital to the function of those two towers – Water Department officials note that overall rate increases will be required to ensure that even fundamental services can be maintained.For quarterly customers the minimum increase will be $14.25 per quarter – bringing the minimum quarterly water charge to $61.75 from $47.50. For monthly customers, the price will increase from $22.50 to $29.25 per month. The Water Department cites present day costs of $1.54 to treat and move 100 gallons of water into resident’s homes.For quarterly customers, the rate increase will officially begin during the April, May, and June billing cycle. The point of emphasis here is that the repairs on the Auburn Road tower would need to be started this year, in order to prevent the repairs from becoming “major.” Similarly, the urgency with the VanRennsalaer tower is equal, but if not planned for this year – could be impossible to save in 2017.Stay tuned to FingerLakes1.com as this story continues to develop.

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