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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 18, 2009

More USDA grant money for sewer project

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — With the receipt of yet more grant money, the spending limit for the town’s long-discussed sewer project has increased from $2.5 million to $3.6 million.

At the June 10 town board meeting, Supervisor Kevin Crosier announced that the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency will be giving the town its third chunk of grant money — $600,000 worth — adding up to $1.6 million in total grants from the USDA. Back in 2004, Berne got its first $500,000, and another half-a-million came this past March.

There will be no change in the cost to members of the district.

“The nice thing about the federal grant dollars is, we’re not held to the made-in-America standard, unlike stimulus funding that is subject to a bunch of political wrangling,” Crosier told The Enterprise. “Stimulus money requires that everything used in a project is American made. But the problem they’re realizing is that it’s driving the cost of these projects up. It’s simple — some of these American-made products can’t compete with the foreign-made product.”

The sewer project, in the works since the late 1990s, is designed to help those with substandard septic systems and contaminated wells, while complying with an order on consent from the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, which found pollution in the Fox Creek. The town passed its sewer use ordinance this past November.

Other business

In other business at its June 10 meeting, the town board:

— Discussed closing on the library and senior center at the old grange hall on Route 443.

“We are going to close this week,” Crosier said yesterday. “Once we close on the building, the town will then proceed to find an engineer and architect to start preliminary design work for the new senior addition on the back, and renovation of the current building for the library”; and

— Reviewed bids for cleanup of the December ice storm, to be paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The high bid, at $147,000, came from AAA Enterprising, while the low bid, $42,420, came from Northline Landscaping.

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