ELIZABETHTOWN - The town of Elizabethtown is preparing to add a municipal sewer system to the hamlet, and hoping they can obtain enough funding to pay for it.
At the town board's Feb. 17 meeting, Rick Straut and Don Fletcher from Barton and Loguidice Engineering Firm presented the proposed plans for a new sewage system, complete with a wastewater treatment plant.
The primary site under consideration for the wastewater treatment plant is in the vicinity of the Fish and Game Club, located on Elizabethtown-Wadhams Road. If constructed there, the entire project would have an estimated cost of $9.5 million.
Other possible sites include two parcels on either side of Woodruff Street. Supervisor Noel Merrihew said he would prefer to have the site further away from the dense residential area.
Straut, the vice president for Barton and Loguidice, said that with a plan now in place, the main concern was keeping the cost low for property owners.
"With the tough economic times, it's obviously a concern for everybody, but also with the stimulus package there's some really unique opportunities to get this project done in an affordable way."
Straut said there was very good potential for the town to obtain up to $2 million in no-interest loans through the Environmental Facilities Corporation, which is in charge of administering much of the stimulus funds coming into New York State.
Most of a $1 million grant awarded during the tenure of former Gov. George Pataki remains to help fund the project. Still, that leaves upward of $6 million to address the remaining cost.
"Without a substantial amount of grant money, the project is not going to be affordable," said Fletcher.
The goal, he said, is to secure enough grant money so the loan could be paid down with the minimum cost to homeowners. Based on median income, the state calculates the annual cost for a single-family home to be $362 per year, known as an equivalent dwelling unit, or EDU.
"There are other programs that we're applying to," said Fletcher, "but the stimulus is what we're really focused on right now."
Fletcher said it was possible the amount for each EDU could be somewhat greater if town is unable to obtain enough grants to reach their goal. Collecting enough funding to reduce the cost to below $362 would be unlikely, though.
That unit cost would be applied proportionally to large businesses and institutions in the sewer district, based on the average amount of water they consume.
Straut said about two thirds of the annual cost would be needed to pay for maintenance and operation of the sewage treatment plant. The other third would be used to repay the $2 million loan over a 30-year period.
Merrihew said the town had used its initial funding to position itself well, making the sewer system available as a shovel-ready project.
"If we were still at the planning stages, we would not be in consideration," he said.