Mohawk Valley Water Authority


January 22, 2008 – 5:30 P.M.



The public rate hearing was held at the Utica City Hall, Common Council Chambers, on Tuesday, January 22, 2008.  Chairman Gaston opened the hearing at 5:32 P.M. and stated that the purpose for tonight’s meeting is to have a public hearing on the new rate schedule for the Upper Mohawk Valley Regional Water Board, which would go into effect on April 1, 2008. 


The following Board Members were present: Bruce Brodsky, Elis DeLia, George Gaston, Nate Price, Don Ryan and A. Eugene Snyder.  Also present: Executive Director Patrick Becher, Board Attorney Edward Earl and Comptroller James Korfonta.  There will be a brief presentation by the Executive Director and Comptroller on the rate structure and pertinent information that drives the rates.  Following the presentations the Board will receive public comment.


Mr. Becher explained that the MVWA is required to have a rate hearing each year prior to the Board setting rates for the fiscal year.  Our fiscal year starts on April 1, 2008 and runs through March 31, 2009.  For the coming fiscal year the Board has proposed a rate increase of 8.25%.  For the average residential customer, a family of four, the increase amounts to about $2.49 per month or $22.00 for the year.  Mr. Becher gave an overview and brief history of the Water Authority. There are unfunded federal mandates coming which are major construction of six new tanks over the next four years and changes in the treatment process, which will be $26 million dollars.  The Authority has already bonded for $14M and will be bonding for another $14M to complete the $26M project.  The MVWA is still planning on expanding the system.  The idea is consolidation.  In the absence of greater utilization of our infrastructure, the MVWA has had to raise rates.


Mr. Korfonta explained the MVWA’s Summary Budget and proposed 8.25% rate increase.  The components of the proposed increase include: 2.29% for $10.1 million dollar operation expenses,  2.8% for $14 million to comply with EPA regulations, 2.27% for $350,000 for new chemical – activated carbon, .96% for a $148,000 promissory note and debt, (.20%) for $(28,000) pilot payment reduction, .97% for $150,000 to replenish R&I Fund and (.84%) for $(135,000) in additional revenue from fees.  Revenue from water sales comprises $15 million or 85% of the overall budget.  Other revenue resources include: laboratory services, late fees, billing services, sale of hydroelectric power and interest earned on bond fund investments.  Significant increases in costs of operations are contractual payroll increases, chemical costs, paving materials and small equipment.  The proposed service rates and fees are expected to meet the increased operational and capital improvement costs contained in the proposed 2008-09 budget. 


Chairman Gaston asked if anyone wished to comment or had any questions.  Three people came forward:

1.       Christine Mangano of Utica was representing residents of Utica on a fixed income.  Ms. Mangano stated that many retired women live on approximately $600 a month and would like the MVWA to find ways to help them.  Also, fresh water is the most important thing in the world and the MVWA should let people know how good their water is.

2.       Shannon Scott of Utica was representing himself and the 22nd district.  He has concerns with the lead pipes in the MVWA water system and feels that all of the lead pipes should be replaced.  If the lead pipes were replaced the cost of water would go down.  Mr. Scott feels that there are too many water main breaks in the system causing wasted water, which in turn brings the cost up for everyone.

3.       Mr. Jaworski of Utica was representing himself and brought in a dirty water filter from his home to show the Board.  Mr. Jaworski stated that he has complained four times and was promised by the Authority that the pipes in his area would be flushed and they have not.  He asked the Authority if they would look into this for him.   


Chairman Gaston thanked Mr. Becher, Mr. Korfonta, Board Members and the public for their participation.  The Public Rate Hearing ended at 6:43 P.M.


Respectfully submitted,




Suzanne M. Harmon, Secretary

Upper Mohawk Valley Regional Water Board