Financing for the sewer system will largely come through grants and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program and the state-run Environmental Facilities Corporation. Combined with a $1 million grant previously received from NYSDEC, about $5.2 million of the more than $9.5 million project is financed.
The town had considered treatment plant siting on the golf course last spring when it applied for a Green Innovation Grant through EFC that would have put the project within the target annual cost of $362 to residential users in the sewer district.
A stipulation in the grant prevented it from being used on a municipally-owned golf course, however, and the plan was abandoned until voters turned down the plant site on Woodruff Lane.
The town board has since passed a resolution stating, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming referendum, the sewer project will only commence if enough funding is obtained to reach the target of $362 annually for residential users.
"If it's $368, we're not going forward," said Merrihew. "We've been very clear about that in all [our meetings]."
Last December, the town was promised a $2.5 million grant for the project through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but that was committed elsewhere after the first referendum failed to gain approval.
The town can re-apply for ARRA funds, but a significant amount of financing remains to reach the target cost to taxpayers.
Still, Merrihew is confident the town can gain the additional state or federal monies it needs, if only because the project would affect institutions like Elizabethtown Community Hospital, the county offices, and the Horace Nye Home.
Polls will be open Thursday, July 15, from 12 to 8 p.m. at the town hall. Only those residents whose property is within the proposed sewer district are allowed to vote. For more information on voting, contact town clerk Debra Brooks at 873-6555.