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Town of Ithaca (population 19930)

Name of service/government operation: Southern Cayuga Lake Intermunicipal Water Commission (Bolton Point)

Form of sharing: Commission to provide drinking water

Services affected: water

Year started: 1980

Partners: Towns of Ithaca, Dryden and Lansing; Villages of Cayuga Heights and Lansing

Primary goal(s)/motivation(s): Jointly share water production for high quality at a low price.

What planning process preceded the sharing? Failure of negotiations with the City of Ithaca to lower the premium placed on water sales to the member municipalities.

What governance structures and/or agreements are required to maintain this agreement? A commission with a very unusual voting arrangement: all 5 partners have two votes regardless of amount of water purchased.

Challenges: Topography of the member municipalities requires a good deal of pumping and thus high electricity costs. The public resists paying for water at a cost of less than a cup of coffee per day.

Benefits: Less expensive infrastructure and operational costs; better ability to adapt to new federal and state requirements, more options for development.

Impact on budget: Not large overall - fees are charged to cover costs.

Impact on labor: Probably reduces labor over each municipality providing separate plants.

Impact on service: Better service because of talented and adequate staff.

Key contact: Herb Engman - Treasurer