(ORLEANS) - The Orleans Town Council met in special session last Wednesday evening at town hall to handle a number of items related to the upcoming major overhaul of the town's aging and failing wastewater collection system and treatment plant.
Attorney David Umpleby who is working with the town on arranging the financing for the project conducted a public hearing concerning the proposed advertised wastewater rates and charges that will need to be implemented to help cover the expense of the planned infrastructure work.
There were no townspeople present for the hearing with any questions or objections being expressed.
After a general discussion council members approved the revised sewer rates and charges.
Town wastewater customers will soon see a 16% increase on their monthly utility bills, which will average out to be some $8 per customer, which is based on actual water usage.
The wastewater rate is higher than water due to the increasing cost to the treatable waste. The new rates will be effective with the next regular billing cycle.
Orleans Town Clerk Robert F. Henderson said the sewage works that the town has owned and operated in part dates back 80 years or more is presently failing and decayed. In order to make the necessary repairs and replacements to the sewage operations that will allow it to serve the citizens of Orleans for years in the future, the town will be required to make a substantial capital investment to do the needed improvements to both the collection system and 20 year plus treatment plant.
Henderson added that the work will be both extensive and regrettably expensive with nearly 99% of the present collection system expected to be worked on or totally replaced. The cost of the work to be performed is $8,615,000.
Town officials were able to secure $2 million in grant monies to aide in the improvement project including OCRA and Orange County Development Commission. Primary funding will come from a long term loan through the USDA.
In related matters, Council members also signed off and executed a number of documents pertaining to the defeasance of the town's sewer works revenue bonds, along authorizing the town's officers to enter into on behalf of the municipality all needed contracts and agreements connected to the sewer project.
The Council will meet in regular session again on September 13, 7 p.m. at town hall.
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