SARANAC LAKE - The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees is moving ahead with plans to finance upcoming upgrades to the village's water system.
According to Village Manager Marty Murphy, the village will borrow up to $12.5 million to cover upgrades to a single-source, two-well water system the board voted to move forward with earlier in October.
The water project also includes construction of a new water storage tank, new water transmission lines, and improvements to infrastructure.
Two years ago, the village received a mandate from the state Department of Health to upgrade the village water system due to levels of haloacetic acids that exceeded the maximum contaminant level set by the state.
The mandate rescinded the village's filtration avoidance determination.
Engineers estimate the project will cost $11.7 million. But Treasurer Paul Ellis said borrowing up to, but no more than, $12.5 million is smart, because it accounts for the entire project plus any unforeseen costs.
And that doesn't mean the additional funds will be used. Ellis calls the excess a "buffer."
Murphy also headed off concerns by some trustees that change orders would be processed without board approval. A change order consists of additional work that can be added to a contract after work has commenced.
Currently, the village is aiming to acquire $12.5 million through the state Environmental Facilities Corporation. The village has also applied for a $2 million hardship eligibility grant. If awarded, Saranac Lake would borrow $10.5 million in bonds at a zero-percent interest rate.