Residents in the town of LeRay said Thursday night they support the plan to establish a sewer district for 245 households near Route 283, but they hope officials will be able to secure federal grant funding this fall for a later project to expand the new district.
The Town Council decided it will hold an official public hearing to approve the district, at a date to be determined. There then will be a 30-day public comment period to give residents in the district a chance to seek a referendum on the project.
The proposed district includes households surrounding Five Corners Road and near Calcium Fire Department, along with five mobile home parks. It was made possible by a $2 million grant awarded in August by the state Environmental Facilities Corp. and a $2 million interest-free loan for 30 years. It will cost residents $465 a year.
At the meeting, town officials explained why they opted to leave out residents that were originally included in the plan. Conducted in 2008, the original engineering plan for the project was about twice the size of the proposed plan and included about 60 households along Route 342 and in the hamlet of Calcium, said town engineer Kris D. Dimmick.
But the town decided that $4 million in funding wasnt enough for that project because residents would pay too much about $764 a year per household.
The board sensed there wasnt going to be a lot of support from residents, so this became the area to serve the most people at a minimal cost, he said.
Providing sewer service to the five mobile home communities made sense, he said, because they account for the most residents and need it the most. The state Department of Health also has expressed ongoing concerns with private sewer systems at the parks and has said they need to be replaced.
Some residents who live outside the district, including Frank R. Gerlack, who lives on Route 342 in Calcium, said the town should seek more funding to include more households in the plan.
If you wait to do another project later, the cost is going to be too high for residents, he said. Thats why its so important to push for a federal grant so that we can keep a balanced cost of $465 in the community.
Mr. Dimmick said additional grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture could become available this fall. If so, the town will seek a matching $2 million grant to expand the project. That, coupled with a $2 million state loan, would enable the town to cover all households under the original plan.