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Town seeks upgrades for water district

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen The Town of Dunkirk is seeking grant funding for water district improvements. Town Board member Jean Crane, pictured, said, “We know the dire situation we’re going to be in if we don’t act on this pretty soon.”

With the East Lake Road Water and Sewer District nearing the end of its life just over four decades in operation, the Town of Dunkirk is moving forward with the necessary improvements to keep an operational district to its residents.

A representative from CPL: Architecture, Engineering, and Planning Firm attended a recent meeting to discuss the next steps for the Town to take.

As it stands now, many of the pumps in operation will only last between 10-15 years before they are no longer operational, but the collection system is also nearing its end. The project initially began in 1979 with construction wrapping up in 1982.

“We know the dire situation we’re going to be in if we don’t act on this pretty soon,” Town Board member Jean Crane said.

CPL has begun exploring grant funding through New York State’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) program. A CPL representative stated the program can provide up to 50% assistance with funding for a municipal project regarding water infrastructure. Through WIIA and Intermunicipal Grant (IMG) funding, there is $325 million available statewide, with applications due by 5 p.m. on June 14.

Another available opportunity for grant funding is through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which is a fully-covered, federally-funded grant up to $1.25 million, contingent upon funding from another agency. To be eligible for CDBG funding, a municipality must be able to prove the income level of the project area includes more than 50% low-to-moderate income households.

With those opportunities in mind, the Town of Dunkirk is preparing to move forward with an engineering report, bond resolution, and environmental review for the East Lake Road Water and Sewer District. To do so, the Town Board agreed to contract CPL to complete an engineering study, including concept maps, cost estimates and funding scenarios, along with a report for grant funding submission and an environmental review document, at a total cost of $12,000.

“I think we need to move as soon as we can,” Crane said before making the motion to approve the payment to CPL.

“I agree,” Town Board member Shari Miller said. “I don’t think we can wait either.”

The Town Board also, upon a recommendation from CPL, approved a payment of $5,490, along with an additional $500 in a la carte fees and postage costs to G&G Municipal Consulting and Grant Writing, of Spencerport, NY, for an income survey and report on the district to assess its eligibility for CDBG funding. Grant application costs are anticipated by CPL at approximately $10,000 at a future date.

“I think this is money well spent. This is their expertise,” Miller said.

CPL, through Municipal Solutions upon Town Supervisor Priscilla Penfold’s authorization, will also re-submit a grant application for the Shorewood Water and Sewer District in a third attempt to secure grant funding for that district, as well. The Town Board agreed to an amendment to compensate CPL for securing 89 easements throughout the district, at a total cost of $26,477.50 to be reimbursed by a grant funding package.

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