For the Express

NORTHAMPTON — A resolution to move forward with a $114,000 project involving Northampton’s water and sewer lines was approved during Wednesday night’s town board meeting. The work represents the final phase of a $200,000 grant that the state issued several years ago to examine the town’s water and sewer lines.  
According to Councilman William Gritsavage, this project is a part of a larger plan to reconstruct the entire sewer system that lies beneath Sacandaga Park. The resolution included a motion to deliberate moving forward with an application to see if the town is eligible for up to $5.7 million in low-cost bonding that would help aid the reconstruction plans.
This resolution came after a separate public hearing was held about the venture and the potential application process for the loan.
Wayne Ryan of AES Northeast Engineering and Jason Denno from New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. were invited to talk about the sewer line repairs, cost of the reconfiguration, and the state loan.
“There are some areas in Sacanda Park where the sewer is in big trouble,” said Gritsavage. “We want to be in a position where we could borrow the money at least at 2 percent.”
The town’s recent eligibility for the low-cost bond is the first opportunity it has had since the DEC granted the town funds to research what existed under the park when Supervisor Linda Kemper first came into office.
The study found that the sewer lines were running directly beneath houses, forests and ditches. Kemper said the engineers found “a complete mess,” because it was built in the 1890s.
Since she has been in office the town has applied for state funding, but was turned down because the area is viewed as “seasonal” with “high incomes.”
The application to view eligibility for the loan is due at the beginning of February.
Kemper, whose term in office ends this month, is concerned the project will not be seen through once she’s gone.
“We’ve done too much work and waited too long to let this opportunity slip by,” she said.
Gritsavage said this is not a problem the town can ignore and suggested a public hearing on the matter should be scheduled.
He explained that if the board proceeds with the application for the loan of $5.7 million (the cost of the project) it does not mean the money would have to be borrowed. According to Gritsavage, it only makes the town qualified to do so if needed.
“This doesn’t mean that we will even borrow a nickel; we are in a position where we can borrow it” if needed, he said.