MOREAU — The Route 9 sewer project is starting — now.
The town received financing approval Wednesday afternoon and then had its preliminary engineering plan approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
That means engineers can get started.
Town Supervisor Todd Kusnierz was thrilled to get the approval letter from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. on Wednesday.
“This is the last piece of the financial plan to fall into place,” he said.
It guarantees the town zero interest for its $12 million loan. The town is also getting a $4 million grant.
While the town has applied for other grants, the sewer district is capped at a total cost of $16 million. Any additional grants awarded this year would reduce the amount that the town must borrow for the project, which reduces the cost to each user.
The town doesn’t have the loan yet — it just has EFC approval. Now the town can fill out the loan application, which goes back to EFC. But all of that is typical paperwork. The approval was the big win.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” Kusnierz said.
Now, engineers will begin “securing easements,” as Kusnierz put it. That means working out the exact location of the sewer line and each pump station, getting right of way and easement agreements written, and negotiating with property owners.
It’s a good activity for winter, when engineers can use a drone to measure the right of way because there is limited foliage blocking view of the land.
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“This keeps us on our timeline,” Kusnierz said.
The plan is to finish the sewer by November 2021. Construction will take two years, beginning in 2020.
The town could not authorize any work until the financing was underway and the engineering plan had been approved. Now the town can spend money and later submit the bills to have it reimbursed by the loan and grants. Technically, until now, the town was not authorized to spend any of the $16 million that voters had approved last summer.
Kusnierz had been expecting this good news for more than a month. The long wait had started to make him a little uneasy.
“They had always released the (EFC) announcements in mid-December,” Kusnierz said. “I called at the end of the December and they said they were drafting letters to release Jan. 10. Well, Jan. 10 came and went so I made some calls and they said, ‘We’re releasing them next week.’”
Kusnierz’s next question to EFC was a blunt one: “Are we still expecting good news?”
Even he was starting to worry.
But he was assured that good news was on the way.
On Wednesday, before the physical letter even arrived, EFC emailed it to him. It was dated Jan. 10.
He doesn’t care about the delay now.
“That’s fine, as long as it came,” he said cheerfully. “This is incredibly good news for our town.”