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Posted September 20, 2012 | comments 7 Comments

Town awarded larger grant for wastewater plant

Official: Larger-than-expected amount will translate into savings, more money for residents

By Alex Bridges - abridges@nvdaily.com

Positive news came to Strasburg officials recently as the town prepares to build a new wastewater treatment plant.

But the ultimate cost of the project remains unknown until the town selects a firm to construct the facility.

Strasburg had applied for a grant throught the Water Quality Improvement Fund, a program offered through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Town Manager Judson Rex said he and other local officials expected Strasburg would qualify for about $2 million in grants for the project. However, town officials learned last week the DEQ presented an agreement to award Strasburg a grant for $3.18 million.

"That translates into savings for the town, less money that we have to finance and service debt over many years, so ultimately that's more money for the residents," Rex said.

Strasburg Town Council this fiscal year raised the water and sewer rates. While a larger-than-expected grant won't affect the current utility levies, the amount could help keep the town from needing to raise the rates as much as planned for future years.

"It will have an impact on it," Rex said. "We have a five-year budget program that we use to help project our rates and we have yet to plug the number in and calculate what the exact impact will be. But it will definitely have an impact.

Council has raised the rates incrementally over the past couple of years in preparation for the construction of the new wastewater treatment facility. Officials, in discussions last year, saw a projected rate increase of 6 percent, but Rex noted that levy was preliminary and Council likely will have to revisit the issue and see the impact of the extra state money.

Strasburg put out advertisements for bids on the project Sunday, Rex said. Bids from interested firms are due Nov. 1.

"The biggest impact is still yet to be, and we'll see Nov. 1, is what the bids come in at," Rex said. "That's going to have a big impact. Generally they come in a little lower than the engineer's estimate, but we just don't know for sure. It could come $5,000 less. It could $2 million less, so that will impact how the project plays out."

The last estimate included engineering costs, most of which the town has already paid, put the price of the plant at approximately $24 million. That cost estimate represents a reduction of about $2 million when the town went through value engineering analysis used to cut expenses on the project.

Strasburg plans to fund the project with grants and loans. In addition to the DEQ award, the town has $1.5 million in a rural development grant. The town will pay the remaining cost of the project through rural development financing and the state's revolving loan program. Strasburg has received approval for both financing options. Town officials should know the final number needed to secure the loans Nov. 1.

7 Comments | Leave a comment

    So what Rex is saying is the town is going to beat us with a smaller stick so it won't hurt as bad.

    Keep up the good work Rex. If you continue to push on more grants for the plant, then what will TeaTime have to complain about. Remember that the Feds are forcing this on the municipals as part of the Chesapeake Bay Water act.

    I guess everyone in this drainage system that drains into the Chesapeak bay, gets monitored.
    Grants are always good! Got to like them!

    It does not matter how much money the town gets. It will never be enough.They have never given back to the citizens. NEVER! WE were told 20 years ago that the $25.00 for the the town sticker was only until the new school was paid for. We are still paying for the invisable sticker. Taxes are outrageous, water cost as much as a car payment. They will not stop until no one can afford to live here except Rex.

    Wow, JM you having started me to think about 20 years ago. Things like what paid for my car payment, food, gas medical expenses and other basic living expenses. Guess what, I pay a whole lot more now than I did 20 years ago for these same items. The $25 fee did pay for the school but now it probably pays for something else that is needed in the community. Everything goes up but the cost of providing town services has remained lower as compared to everything else. Yes water has gone up but look how long it took to happen and it was needed. How long did we go without real estate tax increase. Go check out other community's rates, we are still pretty cheap for the services we receive from the Town. I hate paying taxes as much as anyone else. I look for the best value for my money in everything even in the Town I live. Strasburg is still a good value for the money.

    It's easy to face the fact that the price of everything is going up Unreeldeel. If you are young and working that is something that is easier to except. If you are retired it's a different story. The people do not seem to understand that the fees and regulations they are forcing on the older people in this town is not just an inconvenience it is a burden.

    If the town had any compassion for the older residents when they passed the Historic District regulations, they could have at the least grandfathered the existing residents to the old regulations. Heck no, like a bunch of vampires they want to suck every last drop of blood from the old residents before we can make a get away or die.

    It's easy to face the fact that the price of everything is going up Unreeldeel. If you are young and working that is something that is easier to except. If you are retired it's a different story. The people do not seem to understand that the fees and regulations they are forcing on the older people in this town is not just an inconvenience it is a burden.

    If the town had any compassion for the older residents when they passed the Historic District regulations, they could have at the least grandfathered the existing residents to the old regulations. Heck no, like a bunch of vampires they want to suck every last drop of blood from the old residents before we can make a get away or die.


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