Local News

June 6, 2009

Last on Lake Champlain, Essex approves wastewater treatment plant

Stimulus funds will support project

ESSEX -- The Town of Essex won $7.7 million in federal stimulus funding and loans to build a new wastewater treatment plant.

A designated historic site, Essex is the only town on the shores of Lake Champlain without a sewer treatment plant.

A mandatory referendum vote by water-district taxpayers in Essex Friday approved the $8.9 million project 91 to 5.

The new facility will serve 110 existing homes, about one-third of which are owned by year-round residents.

Gov. David A. Paterson announced the grant award late Thursday, one project among 20 in upstate counties to divvy up $130 million for water and sewer projects around the state.

Projects in three other Essex County towns won stimulus funding Thursday, and the Town of Keene earned $3.2 million in Rural Development grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week.

"These projects will not only create jobs, they will help keep New York's waters clean without the need to raise local property taxes," Paterson said in a statement Thursday.

This, the second round of Clean Water monies, completes stimulus grant awards regionally from the $432 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds received by New York.

"The announcement yesterday was for the full allocation of non-New York City project awards," Matthew J. Millea, acting president of Environmental Facilities Corp., said in a telephone interview Friday.

Environmental Facilities Corp. is the state agency that monitors and oversees low-interest loans and grants for municipal water and sewer infrastructure.

Millea told regional leaders at Local Government Day in March the Facilities Corp. had received more than $11 billion in project requests for stimulus money.

Essex was awarded a hardship loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund of $3.7 million plus principle forgiveness grant of $4 million.

The town voted Friday to borrow $1 million of the loan funds offered. The remaining $2.5 million needed for the sewer plant is expected to come as a Department of Agriculture grant.

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