LIVERMORE FALLS — Voters on Tuesday authorized issuing up to $6.25 million in bonds for a $14 million update to the town’s nearly 50-year-old Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The estimated cost to upgrade the Livermore Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant is $14 million. Sun Journal file photo

The plant was built in the early 1970s and underwent a partial upgrade in 1998. This time the focus is on deteriorating concrete at the plant, reconstruction of the sludge holding tanks, primary clarifiers, chlorine contact chamber, water pumps, primary sludge tanks, tank drain pumps, and all additional construction or reconstruction necessary, according to information provided at the special town meeting.

Sewer Superintendent Mark Holt said he is “hopeful and optimistic” that by the end of the project in November 2023, if all anticipated funding falls into place, the $7.44 million loan will be reduced by $4.7 million from future grants, principal loan forgiveness and sources, leaving balance of about $3 million. It is not guaranteed, he said.

Holt’s “optimistic” outlook is that it would break down to an estimated 80% from grants and 20% from loans, not factoring in interest on interim loans or any change orders for the project, he said.

Jay and Livermore Falls will split the cost of the upgrade evenly. All of Jay’s sewage is treated at the plant. In Livermore Falls, sewer users will pay for the upgrade through user fees, and in Jay, taxpayers and ratepayers will pay Jay’s share of the cost.

Representatives of the two towns have submitted grant applications and have gone after any funds they can find to lower the cost of the project. The efforts are ongoing.

Livermore Falls intends to enter into temporary financing through an interim loan from the Maine Municipal Bond Bank in the principal amount of $6.25 million at 1.5% interest for one year, which may be extended up to three years subject to the approval of the bond bank, according to wording on the meeting warrant. Following the expiration of the temporary financing, the town will enter a permanent financing with a total estimated debt service of nearly $8.9 million.

Prior to the vote, Jeff Preble, senior project manager for Wright-Pierce, an engineering firm in Topsham, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the project. Brandy Piers, the small community grants coordinator for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, was also on hand.

“We are definitely focused on Livermore Falls to get the project moving forward,” Piers said. She has been working with the towns to get the most grant money possible.

The worst-case scenario is a little over $6 million in debt and the best case is about $3 million in debt, she said.

The plant is ranked No. 2 in the state for both environmental and economic need, Holt said.

If the plant is not upgraded and fails, the town could face consent agreements and lawyers, Piers said.

T Buck Construction of Turner was the low bidder of two submitted at $11.17 million. Livermore Falls selectmen authorized Town Manager Amanda Allen to sign the contract following the vote.

The project includes a fiscal sustainability plan, which is the money to create a document to save money for the next 20 years to help with the cost of the next upgrade, Holt said.


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