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Secretary of State visits Bridgeport

Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez paid a visit to Bridgeport yesterday. During a tour of the Route 31 corridor from Brewerton to Sullivan and a stop in East Syracuse, Cortes-Vazquez made a quick stop at the Bridgeport United Methodist Church to review maps of the area and see the proposed town of Sullivan sewer project.

Business owners in the area also turned out to share their thoughts on how the project will affect commerce in the area.

Supervisor John M. Becker (R,C,I -- Sullivan) said he was hoping Cortes-Vazquez would absorb what the town is trying to do and carry that message back to the governor's office.

"We're hoping she'll go back and tell the governor, 'This is what this area needs,'" Becker said.

The Environmental Facilities Corporation has committed zero-percent interest loans for nearly the entire $14 million the project is expected to cost. Becker said that is a tremendous boost toward getting the project done.

"The problem is paying it back," Becker said, explaining that the town is seeking grants and other aid that does not have to be paid back.

Those extra funding sources would lower the per-unit cost to make sewers affordable to all the residents in the proposed Bridgeport Sewer Initiative District. The budget picture from Albany is grim, though, Becker said.

"We don't know what's going to happen there," Becker said. "They are talking about cutting another 6 percent next week and another 15 percent in April."

April begins the state's fiscal year, a factor which negatively impacts the town and county budget cycles, which follow the calendar year. That 15-percent cut would come after local municipalities already were one-third of the way through their budget cycles, forcing cuts down the line.

Becker spread out schematic drawings to show Cortes-Vazquez existing facilities and the different pieces of the project. He said some septic and sewer facilities discharge into the creek, which then drains into the lake.

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