Sullivan: Sewer fund flush

Supervisor John M. Becker announced last week that he is in receipt of a commitment letter from the Environmental Facilities Corporation for $13.986 million with zero percent interest for the Bridgeport Sewer Initiative.

Getting sewers from Lakeport to the Hamlet and to homes along the south side of Oneida Lake has been Becker's pet project since his 2005 campaign.

The last estimate for the entire project put construction costs at $14 million, though those costs have been climbing for projects in other municipalities as construction starts have been delayed. Becker said the project must stay below that threshold in order to be eligible for the ECF loan.

The no-interest loan will go a long way to keep residents' annual sewer district fees down, Becker said.

That 0-percent interest is a huge benefit, Becker said. That's a savings of $4 million in interest over 30 years, so we were lucky to get it. We're hoping to decide on the project particulars by March.

The town board's got to kick in an additional $14, Becker said at the board's regular meeting Sept. 17, joking of the difference between the project estimate and the commitment. I think we're going to have a busy October. We're going to have to sit down with engineers and set up some sort of schedule for Bridgeport, show people what we've done, what it's going to cost, and anything we pick up between now and start of construction will lower the cost.

According to Becker, the money has to be used within two years of the Sept. 10 date of the letter. He said the town also has been awarded a $500,000 grant from USDA Rural Development.

In addition, the town has applied for a $1 million grant through Upstate Revitalization, $600,000 through the Governor's Office for Small Cities and is hoping Rep. John McHugh, Sen. Charles Schumer or Sen. Hillary Clinton come across with more grant money.

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