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WNYT-TV NBC Ch. 13 -Canajoharie 'washed out' by water, sewer bills

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Published on Nov 19, 2010

CANAJOHARIE - Fred Trauft's business depends on water. Without it, none of the beautiful, colorful and healthy plants in his sprawling complex of greenhouses in the Village of Canajoharie would grow.

"It's a significant amount," Traudt claims. "And it all adds up, yeah."

Traudt has already paid more for water, in just the first 10 months of htis year, than he did for all of last year. So far nearly $841 compared to a total of $693 in 2009.

"The water is an expense that's a concern for us," says Traudt.

Village leaders blame the increase on the departure of Beech Nut. Over the years the village took out millions of dollars in loans to make upgrades to its water and sewer treatment facilities so they could better accommodate the baby food manufacturer. Now Beech Nut is mostly gone from its century old factory and the remaining businesses and residents are footing the bills; not just to run the treatment plants but also to pay off the principle on the loans.

"It's enormous. If this happened in Schenectady, where you have 2500 homes, no problem. But we are so limited with 850 homes," explains village mayor, Leigh Fuller.

Beech Nut set up shop in Canajoharie very close to the time Fred Traudt's grandfather began growing here. Now Beech Nut is 20 miles away, in the Town of Florida. And Fred Traudt is being forced to offset his rising costs by raising prices.

"Hopefully not a real lot. It will depend on how things go over the winter," Traudt says.

Mayor Fuller and the Village Board hope to be able to lower the water/sewer rates in the upcoming 2011/2012 budget. The tentative plan is to decrease it to around $15/1000 gallons.

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