Fayette council hears about loans, grants 8.05.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette could be in the running for various grants and loans for work on the village sewage treatment system, including some federal dollars through the “stimulus” program.

Roberta Acosta from the Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) and Lee Sonnenberg of the USDA Rural Development office spoke at the July 23 village council meeting about several funding options to consider.

Acosta said Fayette’s 20-year sewage system upgrade plan could become cumbersome and would likely end up costing the village more than if it were completed in one major project.

In addition, she said, there’s no way of knowing what funding sources will be available in 20 years.

Village administrator Amy Metz asked what costs the village might incur. There’s always something required, Acosta said, but it could be 10 percent or less. With the village’s existing debt load, said councilor Jerry Gonzales, participation in the program could be difficult.

Acosta said she would work with Sonnenberg to come up with the best proposal for council to consider. If U.S.D.A. funding is used, an environment assessment would have to be filed. The cost of that is $6,500.

Fayette’s economic status makes it eligible for the lowest loan rates, Sonnenberg said, and a repayment plan could reach a maximum of 40 years.

If the village addresses the sewer upgrades in phases, Sonnenberg said, “you’re not eliminating the problem, you’re extending it.”

Certain funding sources are limited when a project is tackled in phases, Acosta said. For example, CDBG funds are not given repeatedly. If a grant were awarded for one portion of the work, an additional CDBG grant would probably not be given.

Gonzales noted that the Ohio EPA directive is only for separation of the storm and sanitary sewer lines.

“We’d like to a have a new treatment plant, but that might not be feasible,” he said.

Acosta said Fayette’s eligibility status for financial help is good.

With existing federal programs, Sonnenberg told council members that this is a good time to seek funds. However, Acosta pointed out, the programs are very competitive and the money goes very quickly.

Sonnenberg urged councilors to work with the U.S.D.A. program and opt out later if that seemed necessary.

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