State puts Inlet Wastewater Project back on track with $1.5 million grant; work to start this summer

State Environmental Facilities Corp. says planned sewer project vital to town’s residents, businesses and environment

Inlet Supervisor John Frey

The long-awaited wastewater collection and treatment facilities planned for the Town of Inlet will now be a reality thanks to a $1.734 million grant from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC).

The project was put in jeopardy last year when construction bids came in far above the anticipated figures.

But that changed this week when EFC President and CEO Matthew Driscoll announced that Inlet will receive an additional $1.534 million.

That is on top of a $200,000 grant that EFC had previously committed to the $4.1 million project.

“With this grant, EFC is helping the Town of Inlet to better serve its residents and businesses,” President Driscoll said.

“[It is] also protecting the environment of the Adirondacks and preserving one of the state’s most-popular tourism destinations,” he said, commending those that spearheaded the effort.

“The town and its leaders are to be congratulated for sticking with this important project despite many challenges,” he said.Town of Inlet Supervisor John Frey is understandably pleased, and he stressed the project’s importance to the local economy.

“This project will allow the town to expand its business base,” he said.

“We are in the tourism business in Inlet and with this sewer project we’ve got vacant buildings that could become restaurants, lodging and shops offering the diverse services that our visitors look for,” Frey said.

Frey noted that the town grows from 400 residents to more than 4,000, including residents at three state campgrounds, during the height of the tourism season.

“That all puts pressure on the environment on Fourth Lake and the rest of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, so we can’t express our thanks enough to Governor Cuomo; to EFC, Matt Driscoll and his staff, for partnering with us on this important development project,” he said.

Inlet’s new sewer system will help protect Fourth Lake by collecting and treating wastewater that is now handled by privately-owned septic systems.

Construction is expected to begin in late July or early August 2012.

The project will consist of a new wastewater treatment facility near the base of Fern Mountain and a collection system with new pump stations, a force main and gravity sewers.

“This project speaks to many of the goals set down by Gov. Cuomo: it has an economic impact that allows businesses to stay and to add staff; it will clean-up the environment and it also has the support and financial commitment of the local community,” President Driscoll said.

Additional funding for the Inlet project will be provided by a $1.788 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program.

“This new funding is the result of hard work and sound financial management by the staff of the Environmental Facilities Corp.,” said Driscoll.

“By creatively managing and investing more than $12 billion in total assets, EFC is able to help communities afford water-quality systems that would otherwise be unaffordable,” he said.

As a public benefit corporation, EFC is New York State’s investment bank for the financing of municipal water projects.

With assets in excess of $12 billion, EFC offers tax-exempt bonds that are triple-A rated by Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

Inlet is one of the more than 2,000 local governments and authorities that have shared in nearly $15 billion in financing from EFC.

EFC manages the largest and one of the most successful State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs in the nation.

EFC’s management and investment strategy for its SRFs was praised last year by the Environmental Financing Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Based on the EPA report, the Center for American Progress called on other states to follow New York’s success in multiplying the funds available for the construction of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

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