Town meeting swiftly ok’s $1.1 million grant

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NORWAY – Special town meeting voters Thursday unanimously accepted a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and $385,000 loan to replace miles of century-old sewer pipes Thursday.

About 15 voters, largely town officials, attended the approximately 10-minute meeting at the municipal building on Danforth Street.

Voters approved the acceptance of the $1,105,000 grant and $385,000 loan financed for 29 years at 2.375 percent from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The money is part of the federal stimulus bill to boost the economy.

Officials say the money will be used to replace 1913 clay sewer pipes with PVC pipe in at least a dozen of Norway’s streets. Once completed over a three-year period or so, about two-thirds of the town’s 100-year-old sewer pipes will have been replaced.

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Town Manager David Holt said the project costs are not expected to noticeably increase user rates.

“I live in town and when I see my bill I probably won’t see any difference,” Holt said.

According to Holt, Sewer Superintendent Shawn Brown has determined that the sewer user fees will increase slightly if at all because the money being used from the user fees to repair the old sewer lines will not be necessary once they are replaced. That leaves the money to draw from to repay the $385,000 loan over the 29 years.

The town must now find a bank to finance the project, which is expected to begin in July.

Several weeks ago, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement that Norway has received a $1,105,000 grant and a $385,000 loan for wastewater system alterations that will improve sewer system efficiency.

The project will address streets such as Fair, Winter, Green, Paris, Whitman, Crescent, Cummings Place, Maple, Pleasant and Summer streets. Many of the old pipes have broken down over the years causing infiltration and root penetration, officials said.

The project is expected to begin by replacing pipes on Whitman, Crescent, Cummings Place, Pine, Fern and Hazen streets.

Holt said residents in each area will be notified as the project begins on their streets and informational meetings will be held at that time.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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