The Village of Williamsville is the latest Erie County municipality to consolidate its aging water system with the largest in the region.
After years of negotiations, the village has finalized a deal to turn its system over to the Erie County Water Authority, relieving Williamsville of what has been a strain on village finances for decades, according to Mayor Brian J. Kulpa.
“The fact that we are getting out of the water business speaks to the level of commitment our trustees have to improving the village’s financial outlook. This consolidation will lower water and save village ratepayers money over the long term,” Kulpa said.
The new rate for village ratepayers will be $4.87 per 1,000 gallons, which is 94 cents less than the current rate of $5.81 per 1,000 gallons. The new rate combines the Water Authority’s current rate of $3 per 1,000 gallons with the village debt service surchage of $1.87 per 1,000 gallons. The village may see a reduction in the surchage as it pays down the debt over its 20-year term.
In order to advance the consolidation of its system with the Water Authority, the village has invested more than $3 million in its water infrastructure over the past two years. The village installed higher-capacity water mains, replaced old water meters with technologically advanced remote radio-read meters, replaced outdated fire hydrants and completed new interconnections between the village and Water Authority systems to improve fire service flows in and around the village.
Village and Water Authority officials said the merger will result in a more stabilized rate structure for residential water customers. At the same time, it will provide the village with annual savings on its system maintenance, infrastructure upgrades and personnel costs, while also providing ratepayers in Williamsville with more efficient service delivery and long-term cost savings.
“Over the past several years, the Village of Williamsville has performed its due diligence and concluded that the (Erie County Water Authority) will provide the best, most affordable water service to its ratepayers,” said Water Authority Chairman Francis G. Warthling. “As the region’s largest and most well-equipped public water utility, the (authority) has the second-lowest water rate in Western New York and provides a very high level of service delivery.”