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Palmerton borough Council weighs financial options with wastewater treatement plant rehab

Published January 14. 2011 05:00PM

Palmerton continues to review its financial options in conjunction with the eventual rehabilitation of its wastewater treatment plant.

Borough Council met on Thursday to further discussion on the wastewater treatment plant, according to borough Manager Rodger Danielson.

Based on bids that were opened by the borough last month, the plant figures to cost the borough over $8.1 million, or about $1.5 million less than initially anticipated.

Of the 10 companies that bid on the project, G.M. McCrossin, Inc., of Bellefonte, Centre County, submitted the apparent low bid of $8,160,396.

That bid was $336,604 less than the next lowest proposal of $8,497,000 turned in by KC Construction Company of Ivyland, Bucks County.

Danielson said the plant will likely be built for about $9 million, or about 10 percent less than expected. Construction could start in early spring, he said.

However, Danielson noted "there seems to be very little hope for grants."

"We're still seeking loans and grants; grants seem really out of the picture with our rate structure," Danielson said. "However, there is one program that we may still see something from; even interest assisted loans seem to be maybe out of our reach."

In the meantime, Danielson said the borough will continue to review all of its options.

"We are proceeding; we do have the consent order with DEP," he said. "We are proceeding with seeking bonds on the public market."

Previously, Danielson said the borough planned to seek funds for the project through the federal Department of Agriculture, an H2O grant, or PennVEST.

In October, council authorized the signing of a wastewater treatment plant consent order after it learned it owed the state Department of Environmental Protection $30,500 for the borough's deficient plant.

Danielson said at that time the consent order was necessitated by the borough's current wastewater treatment plant, which has been cited by DEP for several deficiencies over the past two years.

He said the borough would utilize money from its sewer fund to pay the consent order, and added that the action could actually work in the borough's favor as it relates to a potential grant through PennVEST since one of the stipulations to qualify for the grant is to be under a consent order.

In August, council approved the acceptance of Carbon County bond financing after county commissioners approved an interest reduction loan that will issue economic development bonds.

The loan will result in about a $400,000 savings to the borough over the course of a 30-year bond issue, Danielson previously said.

The bonds are available through federal stimulus money, also known as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

In June, the borough applied for an H2O grant in the amount of $8,164,530 to help afford the rehabilitation project.

That decision came after council in April authorized Danielson and borough solicitor Michael Ozalas to prepare a $10 million bond issue after it learned the project would cost more than expected.

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