By Jay Lawson
The Town of Inlet has been awarded a long-term, interest-free loan in the amount of $601,500 from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC), according to an announcement made by EFC on Thursday, July 25.
The 30-year interest-free loan will pay for costs associated with the Town of Inlet’s recently completed wastewater collection and treatment facility.
The new treatment facility is located near Fern Park and eliminates sewage discharges from previous on-site septic systems.
“Communities must be able to protect and enhance water quality for its residents and businesses and environment,” said Joe Martens, chairman of EFC’s Board of Directors and Commis-sioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
EFC is the arm of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration that helps communities pay for major improvements to their drinking water and wastewater systems.
Inlet’s overall project totals $4.1 million, and the no-interest loan covers the portion not funded by grants, according to Town of Inlet Supervisor John Frey.
Frey said he can’t emphasize enough the importance of the financial assistance the town has received.
“Without these monies that were available, the future of the downtown core of Inlet—the business district—was at risk,” he said.
Frey said land area had been becoming increasingly insufficient for septic disposal, and that changes were necessary to maintain clean water supplies.
“This loan and the grants we received helped set Inlet on the right path to the next 50-plus years,” he said.
And none of it happened without a lot of hard work locally, according to Frey.
“Nick Rose and CAP-21 have been instrumental in helping with all this. And the staff at the town hall—my bookkeeper Mary Marleau specifically, as well as our Town Clerk Patti Wittmeyer. I don’t think people truly appreciate the amount of work town staff does behind the scenes to make these projects happen,” he said.
Additionally, Frey said thanks goes to Matt Driscoll and the staff at EFC.
“They stood behind the Town of Inlet all the way through the process,” he said.
“The work everyone has done for Inlet stabilizes our business core and keeps residents living there. That’s vital to a small town,” Frey said.
New York State leads the nation with the largest annual investment in water-quality infrastructure of any state, according to EFC’s Jian Paolucci.
Since 2011, New York State has financed more than $6.7 billion in critical water and wastewater infrastructure investments—the largest four-year investment since the inception of the revolving loan funds in 1987, Paolucci said in a statement.
The state revolving loan funds are administered by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, on behalf of the Department of Environ-mental Conservation, and jointly with the New York State Department of Health.
For the 2015 federal fiscal year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allotted New York State $155 million for wastewater and related projects under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $42 million for the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.