Sewer rates proposed

JOHNSTOWN – The Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board is proposing sewer rates for this year that include a small rate decrease for industrial customers.

The board set a public hearing on the proposed residential and industrial rates for 7 p.m. April 24 at Johnstown City Hall.

Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility Fiscal Officer Donna Renda said Thursday the sewer plant is able to stay financially stable because of the rise in commercial use of the facility in recent years.

“The main reason is the number of industrial wastewater discharge permits have been increasing,” Renda said. “It helps to offset the costs.”

Renda said there are more users of the sewer plant. The rise of Fage USA as a major user of the sewage treatment plant also has bolstered the financial situation of the facility.

Also, $600,000 from the facility’s reserve fund was used to offset purchases of larger capital items the sewer plant has had to fund in recent years, she said.

She said other factors affecting 2013 wastewater rates include: trucked and pumped waste revenue; and $300,000 of the facility’s stabilization fund used for operation and maintenance rate subsidy.

Fage – already the sewer plant’s biggest customer – plans to double production with a new building addition, increasing a 240-person work force by 150 employees. The expansion also will result in larger quantities of whey and yogurt manufacturing waste, which will need to be treated.

Fage has a new allocation and capital improvement agreement with the cities indicating anticipated discharges from Fage are allowed to increase from 127 million gallons of wastewater for 2012 to 286 million gallons by 2017.

The average residential user of the sewer plant will see rates remain stable this year, Renda said. The proposed residential rate is $2.38 per 1,000 gallons.

Renda said the average annual sewer bill for a family of three – based on a formula of 70 gallons per person per day – will be $204 for 2013. She released figures showing how those average bills have decreased over the past several years: 2007 – $222; 2008 – $216; 2009 – $214; 2010 – $206; 2011 – $205; and 2012 – $204.

She said invoice totals vary from industry to industry based on actual monthly sewer use. But Renda said the average industrial sewer bill will have a net decrease of 2 percent to 3 percent for 2013. This is the sixth consecutive year of industrial rate decreases, Renda said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at