Village, Platte River reach water meter agreement

The village of Saranac Lake has reached an agreement with an insurance company in order to complete the installation of new water meters.

In 2009, the village entered into a contract with Troupe Water Services LLC, a company that promised to install new water meters throughout Saranac Lake.

But work later stalled and Troupe was found to be in default of its contract with the village.

The village has since been in talks with the Platte River Insurance Company and trustees now hope the project will be finished sometime early next fall.

Village Manager John Sweeney says the bonding agency, Platte River, will take over the project.

"They have the ability, as long as they follow all of the rules that were set out within it, to hire a company to fulfill the contract," he said.

Trustees won't have any say over which company is hired to complete the project, Sweeney says. But he adds that Platte River must make sure all meters are installed by Sept. 30, 2011.

Speaking during a special meeting Wednesday evening, Sweeney said the village has a $500,000 punitive damage bond, of which about $390,000 is still outstanding on the original contract.

"Platte River will, based upon this agreement, take over the contract and they will be in charge of taking over the meter project as it was described in the original contract," he said. "There will be punitive damages up front of about $44,000 which consists of legal fees, engineering fees, village costs, costs of activation of radios, and other items that are in there, which is in the $44,000. They will pay that back to the village of Saranac Lake."

Robert Martin is superintendent of the village Department of Public Works. He said Thursday that Troupe was able to complete more than 60 percent of the total project.

Martin estimates that before defaulting on the contract, Troupe installed nearly 1,000 meters out of a total of approximately 1,300 meters.

The new meters charge taxpayers based on usage as opposed to a flat rate.

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