Laberge Group was retained by the Towns of Plattsburgh and Schuyler Falls for a Water District Consolidation Study for two separate water districts in the towns. The objective was to evaluate the feasibility of Plattsburgh operating, maintaining, and supplying water to customers of the Schuyler Falls Water District. The outcome of the report determined if the Plattsburgh’s resources could effectively be utilized to realize cost savings for all stakeholders through a direct reduction in cost or through avoidance of future costs. The study incorporated the following steps:
- Documentation of the service area to be operated and maintained.
- Review of the then-current operating budgets and costs.
- Interviews with system operators and budget managers of each town to develop an understanding of operating practices, problems, and potential solutions to know problems.
- Evaluation of the needs of the Plattsburgh Water Department based upon then-current responsibilities, as well as additional demands likely to arise from operation and maintenance of the Schuyler Falls water district.
- Evaluation of methods to equitably assign operation and maintenance costs to the various water districts.
- Identification of any system improvements that would result in a more efficient operation of the systems with a single operating entity.
- Recommendation of a program of cost sharing based upon the above information.
- Recommendation of a framework agreement for each party should a consolidation program be implemented.
- Meetings with respective town representatives to present the findings and field questions.
A new meter reading system and coordinated billing system were implemented as part of the project. The consolidation operation eliminated the need for Schuyler Falls to maintain a water department, while providing Plattsburgh with additional operating revenue and minimal additional cost to their budget. Laberge Group secured $396,000 in funding for the functional consolidation of the water districts.