MOREAU — The town has a chance at a federal grant that could reduce the cost of the proposed Route 9 sewer district — but some property owners are resisting the application.
To apply, the town must get most property owners to fill out an anonymous income survey.
Every homeowner in the Lamplighter Acres mobile home park counts toward the total, but many of them have not filled it out. The town is also seeking surveys from other property owners who have not returned them.
“There’s misinformation that’s spreading, that if they complete the survey, the sewer district will move forward and they will have to pay more,” Supervisor Todd Kusnierz said.
The opposite is true: If residents fill out the survey and the town gets a federal Community Development Block Grant, costs would go down.
Because the grant is uncertain, the budget for the project currently assumes the town won’t get any money from CDBG. The town could get up to $1 million.
“The engineers have referred to it as icing on the cake,” Kusnierz said.
The maximum grant would reduce the cost per $1,000 of assessed property by 43 cents, which might not sound like much. But the average assessment in the district is $596,881. At a tax rate of $6.78, the current proposal, that average property would pay $4,046 in debt payment, not considering the property’s per-acre charge. If the town gets the CDBG grant, the average property would pay $3,790.
In addition, it would reduce the per-acre rate by $4.68.
“It makes the project more affordable,” Kusnierz said. “We’re leaving no stone unturned to secure funding for this project.”
But they need 60 to 70 more owners to fill out the survey — primarily in Lamplighter.
Consultant Liz Tedford is going to go door-to-door to try to personally persuade people to fill out the survey. The Town Board voted Monday to pay her $1,500 for her work. The board previously paid her to send out the surveys once and try to get them returned.
“We’re close to the threshold for block funding,” Kusnierz said. “That’s why we hired Liz to go back out.”
He stressed that the Town Board never sees the surveys.
“That’s why we hired a third party,” he said. “All we see is what they come up with as the average household income.”
The town has already collected enough surveys to apply for EFC hardship financing. If the average household income is low enough, EFC will provide a zero-interest loan for the $16 million project.
While Tedford tries to get the surveys filled out, the Town Board will hold another public hearing on the project on June 26 at 8 p.m. The hearing will be held after the regular 7 p.m. meeting.
The board must hold another hearing because it removed eight residential properties from the project. All properties that were listed on the most recent assessment roll as a one-, two- or three-family parcel have been removed.
“The cost changes are minor,” engineer Don Rhodes said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
There are 86 parcels left in the project, all of which must pay more to make up for the loss of the eight residential properties.
The change increases the debt payment for the remaining owners by 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed property and $2.40 per acre. The total now is $6.78 per $1,000 and $74.77 per acre.
In operation and maintenance, it increases the charge by 3 cents per $1,000 of assessed property. The total is $1.22 per $1,000 assessed.