The Town of Aurora negotiated “bulk” water service, direct from the county, saving money for 200 Castle Hill-area homes.
Now Aurora is looking into deeper townwide savings by transferring all water service to the Erie County Water Authority, said Supervisor James Bach and Councilwoman Jolene Jeffe at the end of the Monday board meeting when the Castle Hill deal was announced.
“The maintenance costs could potentially be less,” said Jeffe, the former supervisor who has been working on the water negotiations.
East Aurora provoked complaints from Aurora last year when it proposed a new water billing system that would have increased rates for residents who get water from village lines by charging for maintenance. Homeowners objected because they already pay the town for maintenance.
While Aurora avoided the extra expense by circumventing East Aurora and arranging to buy water for Castle Hill residents, Jeffe said, transferring town ownership of water lines to the county could cut costs for everyone.
Maintenance could be even cheaper, she said, if it was shared among all of the county water clients instead of just among town residents.
Working out such a transfer is complex and could take a year or two, but taking the municipality out of the middle and putting the Erie County Water Authority directly in charge of water seems to make good sense.
“That’s their business,” said Jeffe. “They’re the experts.”