Fayette village council 2011.12.21

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Plans for funding Fayette’s sewer separation project took a turn for the worse since federal dollars are becoming more scarce.

Roberta Acosta of the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP) broke the news to council members Dec. 14 at the committee of the whole meeting.

“There are some issues with the funding that have come up,” she said. “There are not much federal dollars coming this year.”

RCAP, a private non-profit agency, has worked with the village for several years in an effort to seek funding for sewer work.

Acosta reminded council of its decision to complete the sewer work in one large project rather than tackling smaller phases, as was done in the past.

The U.S.D.A.  was to fund 45 percent of the project cost, but now, Acosta said, the offer is to give a grant of $1.7 million (28 percent of the cost) and a loan of $2.4 million.

Acosta said she told U.S.D.A. representatives that Fayette’s project would grind to a halt with those arrangements.

She estimates that sewer rates would need to increase by $33 a month to finance the U.S.D.A. proposal.

If council were to forgo the U.S.D.A. money, she said, and instead borrow everything interest-free from the U.S. EPA, rates would bump up by about half that much. Initially, an increase of only $8 a month was expected.

Acosta said she will continue pushing the U.S.D.A. for additional funds.

There are four areas where applicants accumulate points in the competitive funding program and Fayette has the maximum number of points in three areas. Earning more points in the fourth could lead to a grant covering up to 75 percent of the project. Acosta said it’s a long shot to move up in the standings, but it’s worth a try.

Maintenance supervisor Tom Clemensen told council it’s important to document sewer backups—septic sewage, not storm water, and backups related to the main sewer lines and not service lines to homes.

Clemensen said he’s received reports of sewage backing up into basements following heavy rain events.

The predicament for the village, Acosta said, comes through rising construction costs.

“I always tell people, ‘Your project is never going to get cheaper than now,’ ” she said.

An increase in grant funding will likely be partially offset by higher construction costs.

PARKS—The Fayette park board is recommending Nick Ramos to serve as the new park director. A second candidate was also very qualified, Clemensen said, making the board’s decision a tough one. Council will vote on filling the position at the Dec. 28 meeting.

Park board member Jason Ohlemacher said discussion continues with the Fayette United Methodist Church youth group about operating the park concession stand next summer as a fund raiser.

The youth group, or any other interested organization, would pay for utilities—estimated at $100 a month—and the village would only handle any maintenance needs that might arise.

ZONING—Dave Wheeler announced his resignation from the village zoning board since he will join village council in January.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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