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Massena village board authorizes bond resolution for sewer project

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MASSENA — The village board on Tuesday authorized a bond allowing the village to borrow up to $3.2 million for a future sewer project.

That loan would be paid back via funding from the state Clean Water State Revolving Fund over a 20- or 30-year period.

Trustee Frances J. Carvel said he worried about authorizing a $3.2 million bond without first knowing exactly what work would be done, but engineer Timothy A. Burley of C2AE, Canton, said the bond resolution does not oblige the village to borrow the money.

“It’s kind of like getting preapproved for a loan at the bank before you go shopping,” Mr. Burley said. “What you’re doing is applying for funding.”

Massena Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad said the project would address issues with the village’s sewer line along Route 37.

Mr. Fayad said the project has been on the state revolving fund’s waiting list for six years without qualifying for funding.

Mr. Burley is expecting that to change. Mr. Fayad said he was approached by Mr. Burley to see whether there were additional issues the funding could help address.

“You waited in line for six years, seven years now, and you have a chance for 2-point-something financing for 30 years,” Mr. Burley said. “This type of money is a more cost-effective way of doing something you were likely going to do anyway.”

Mr. Burley said the village would have the option of paying back the loan over 20 years.

The project also includes the replacement of manholes, construction of a pumping station, aeration improvements and a bio-solids recycling system.

Trustee Albert C. “Herb” Deshaies asked what would happen if the project ended up costing more than the $3.2 million the town is authorized to borrow.

Mr. Burley said the village could redo the bond resolution, complete only a portion of the project or use its own money to pay the balance.

“You control the project,” he said. “You could get approval and choose not to go forward. At least queue up, and if you don’t want to go forward, that’s fine.”

Trustee Patricia K. Wilson said she thinks the time is right to look at a project.

“This money may not be available to us again, and we need this overhaul,” she said.

The bond resolution was approved, but not everyone at the meeting thought it was a good idea.

“I think it’s great to improve your infrastructure when you can afford it,” village resident R. Shawn Gray said.

He said the timing might not be right for a $3.2 million project. Treasurer Julie Sharlow told board members last week the village’s fund balance likely would be down to $400,000 soon.

“In our homes if we can’t afford something, we don’t do it,” Mr. Gray said.

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