Sewer grant possible: Village awarded $1.3M but action required

BUCKLAND — Buckland Village Council members learned the village received a $1.3 million, 50 percent principal forgiveness grant for design and construction of a new sanitary system in the village, but they will have to move up the  construction timetable in order to get the money.

Julie Ward, a representative of Rural Communities Assistance Partnership (RCAP), told councilors they were approved for the grant they had applied for early last year to pay for the sewer project mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, the grant calls for the money to be spent by December 2013, putting the village on a tighter timetable to start work.

However, the additional time restraints appear to be worth it, Ward said, as the village would likely qualify for about $350,000 more in grants to help pay for the $2.5 million project.

Choice One Engineering engineer Andrew Shuman  told councilors the new timetable was achievable but councilors would have to act swiftly. The new design would have to be completed and submitted to the Ohio EPA by April 2013. Bore samples would have to be taken at the proposed sites for the lagoons for the proposed new sanitary system.

Residents would be required to pay a $20 assessment per property to help pay for the new system, as well as residents having to pay an approximate $40 to $50  maintenance charge.

While residents have expressed some disdain with the new charges, Mayor Dan Lambert said they have been understanding that the village leader’s hands are tied and the move had to be made.

If proposed cuts to CDBG grants at the state level do not occur, more money may be available to aid the village in the construction of the new sewer system.

Ward said another $500,000 could be available in CDBG money as well as an additional $100,000 to aid qualifying low income residents to tie in to the new system.

An estimated $273,000 curb, gutter and sidewalk project, that is not connected with the sewer project, will be conducted in conjunction with the new sewer system.

With the new timetable, village administrators would have to advertise for project construction in October 2013 and open bids in November 2013. Construction could begin between February and November 2014 and homeowners could be connected to the new sewer system as early as January 2015.

Councilors discussed the option of having residents pay the assessments for the project either on a monthly basis or as an assessment yearly on their property taxes. Lambert plans to discuss details of each option with Solicitor Jim Hearn and bring the information back to council.