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Richmondville Sewer Project On Hold Until Further Notice

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/19/24 | 4/19/24

By Leila Crockett

RICHMONDVILLE — Brendon Becker of Lamont Engineers was on hand at the last regular Town of Richmondville meeting to update the board on the status of the WQIP (Water Quality Improvement Grant) that the town was relying on to move ahead with the sewer project. 

Becker said, “We just kind of got gypped a little bit because they changed how they scored the projects this year.” He went on to explain that the project was not approved because they lost 20 out of a max of 60 points because of the prioritization of projects either installing UV or phosphorus removal on existing systems over failed septic system replacement. He also blamed the implementation of new criteria that awards 10 points to “disadvantaged communities” for which the Town of Richmondville does not meet the necessary criteria. He explained, “What they mean by disadvantaged is environmentally restricted. So basically it goes to all the cities and all the downstate communities. There is not a single community in Schoharie or Otsego Countunties that is considered a disadvantaged community.  Hopefully, when this next round (of grants) comes out this year the scoring is a little more in our favor. So, I think we should reapply and see if we get it.  Again that will be up to 60% of construction costs so it would be a good grant if we get it.  It’s just unfortunate how they changed it from the previous year's scoring.” He explained that the NY EFC (Environmental Facilities Corporation) WIIA (Water and Infrastructure Improvement) Grant awarded last year at 25% of cost earned the town about $2 Million towards the project, as well as a BIL (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) Grant awarded this year at 50% of project cost leaves them short of their projected budget requirements for the total project which means that the projects will need to be postponed indefinitely unless more funding is acquired. He also recommended that the town consider applying for the Enhanced WIIA Grant in June.  This means they would have to rescind the previous WIIA application which was approved at 25% of project cost in hopes of winning the Enhanced WIIA Grant which would cover 50%. The enhanced grant considers the following criteria, (all of which Becker is confident the town meets after meeting with an EFC representative) population under 3500, project readiness, hardship (post-income survey), environmental justice, and community support. 

Becker also recommended that the town move forward with short-term financing through EFC which will fully fund the project short term through design and construction at 0%.  This will allow the town to complete the design and put it to bid for construction by January of next year. While the 50% BIL and 50% Enhanced WIIA in theory offer 100% grant funding, Becker believes that EFC will target loan payment and user cost. He estimates that a typical family household would pay $600 per year. 

The Board approved a motion to rescind the initial WIIA contract to begin the process of applying for the Enhanced funding as well as a motion to engage Lamont Engineers to start the design work for around $5 thousand. 

Becker continued by explaining a proposed resolution 32-2024 that addresses the EFC requirement that a 30% contingency be built into the project budget, which would raise the estimate from $11 million to $14 Million. Becker said that he raised the estimate to $16 million to ensure that the budget wouldn’t fall short. Initial budget costs as cited in a 2022 report were estimated at around $10 Million. A public hearing will be held on May 9 at 5:30 pm.

*The planning board report included an update on short-term rental training in Sharon which two planning board members attended. 

*Code Enforcement Officer Rich Dourough’s hours are now Thursdays 8-2 and Fridays 4-6.

  




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