MOREAU — The Route 9 sewer project is really, truly, definitely happening.
Late Thursday, the state Comptroller’s Office approved the $16 million project.
Now, nothing stands in Moreau’s way.
“It means that we can now guarantee sewer to anyone looking to build in the district,” Supervisor Todd Kusnierz said. “This is the news we’ve been looking for.”
It may also help a property owner sell. The owner, who Kusnierz did not name, had a developer interested, he said.
“But they needed a guarantee that sewer was coming,” he said. “I made that phone call today.”
Town officials had expected approval by December and have been unable to move forward with financing and bidding during the off-season because the district lacked the final OK.
Kusnierz said the project is now at least six months behind schedule. The goal had been to start construction in April of next year and finish in November 2021.
“We are behind schedule because of the approval delays,” he said. “But we are now working to develop a new schedule.”
An extra six months might not be a bad thing, he added.
“The good news is it gives us more time to get developers in and help us with our costs,” he said.
Town officials have not been idle while they waited for approval.
The town has already been approved for $4 million in state grants and qualified for a zero-interest $12 million loan from the Environmental Facilities Corp. Now, officials can file the documents to get the loan, while preparing to go out to bid.
“We can get on EFC’s next monthly approval meeting for loan documents,” Kusnierz said.
The town also already got its preliminary engineering plan approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Kusnierz credited the “special team,” including attorneys and engineers, with getting everything ready.
“It’s really been a team effort. I can’t thank them enough,” he said.
Some residents had written to the Comptroller’s Office, urging it to reject the project on the grounds of high cost, but that appeared to have no effect.
The project narrowly passed in a referendum, with a vote of 32-29. Before the vote, the Town Board removed all residential properties from the proposed sewer district in response to residents’ complaints that it was too expensive for them and unnecessary for their residential sewage needs.
But some small businesses said the district would be too expensive for them as well. The engineer who designed the district said some businesses may end up selling their property for a profit and relocating.