Voorheesville receives $400K grant for proposed sewer project

— From the village of Voorheesville

State helps stake sewers: In August, Voorheesville proposed tying 175 village properties into a new $3.6 million sewer system. This week, the state announced it had awarded the village a $400,000 grant to help defray some of the proposed project’s costs. 

VOORHEESVILLE — The village has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the state’s Environmental Facilities Corporation for its proposed $3.6-million low-pressure sanitary-sewer system to service 175 properties along and in close proximity to Voorheesville’s Main Street. 

Known as a Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Clean Water grant, the funding is available to projects that have a total estimated cost under $50 million. 

“Obviously, we’re very pleased,” Mayor Robert Conway said of the village obtaining the grant. “Infrastructure grants are not easy to come by.”

Conway said that the village would continue to pursue grant opportunities while also reaching out to the area’s legislators for help. 

The project was proposed at the August meeting of the village board of trustees.

At the September village meeting, a dozen or more village residents, under the impression that they may have no say in a project that could personally cost them tens-of-thousands of dollars, showed up seeking clarification from the board about the proposal. 

A study performed by the engineering firm C.T. Male estimated the cost to property owners in each of the project’s three phases — no grants were assumed in the C.T. Male estimate:

— Phase One would include properties on South Main Street and Voorheesville Avenue and would cost $1 million — the annual property-owner payment to the village would be about $695;

 — Phase Two would service the properties on Pleasant Street and would cost $600,000 — the annual property-owner payment to the village would be about $1,070; and

— Phase Three would service parts of Drywall Lane, Voorheesville Avenue, Main, Grove, West, and Zelda streets, according to the feasibility study, and would cost $2 million — the annual property-owner payment to the village would be about $1,609.

Sewer projects are “notoriously expensive,” said Conway at the Sept. 24 meeting. The mayor then assured residents that the village was pursuing grants to help offset costs, attempting to bring the proposed project’s cost into “to a more reasonable realm for the village residents.”

Trustee Richard Straut also sought to assure residents at the Sept. 24 meeting, saying, “As we got this report and we all talked about it, we said, ‘We can’t do this unless we get grant money.’”

Conway said in September that the proposed project was still in the preliminary stage and that, once it came together a bit more and Voorheesville received more information, the village would share that information with residents through public notices and hearings. 

“So, there’s time and there’s plenty of discussion going forward, before anything concrete would take place,” Conway said in September.

Conway told The Enterprise on Tuesday that, in terms of a timeline, the sewer proposal is at least one to two years away from anything that resembles a shovel-ready project.

And, while $400,000 is a significant amount of money, Conway said the only way this proposal is possible is if the project-related costs passed on to property are further mitigated. “It only works if residents are able to pay,” Conway said.

The village has for some time been concerned that the septic systems currently servicing its Main Street area have restricted businesses from moving into the commercial district. 

And, as part of both the Voorheesville’s 2015 Main Street Master Plan as well as its 2018 Comprehensive Plan, the municipality set as one of its major goals fostering economic development in the village, specifically through the revitalization of Main Street, and specifically by improving and installing for the first time infrastructure that would assist in attracting new businesess to the recently-rezoned district while also helping to better facilitate the area’s existing shops. 

The village’s existing sewer districts — Salem Hills and Pleasant Street — together service about 400 properties as well as Voorheesville Elementary School, according to the village. 

Property owners who decide to tie into the proposed new system would be on the hook not only for the bond on the capital-project costs, but they would also have to expend another $7,000 for the purchase and installation of a grinder pump and service lateral to hook onto the village’s sewer main.

But the village will not require property owners to hook onto the system.

When a sewer line was run down Maple Avenue for the Salem Hills district, the village didn’t require homeowners to connect to the system but, over the years, 60- to 70-percent of property owners did tie-in because, as septic systems fail, the cost of tying into the sewer line was deemed a less expensive option than installing a new septic system, Mayor Robert Conway said previously.

However, Maple Avenue property owners who have yet to connect to the system are still responsible for helping service sewer system’s debt — a $100-per-year-fee — because it’s available for them to tie into. 

More New Scotland News

  • Sullivan’s book quotes the Enterprise’s Voorheesville correspondent: “A new fad is taking place in this village. For instance, if a person happens to indulge too much in a certain drink and gets in a comatose condition, some of the ‘smart ones’ applies a mixture of oil and lampblack to their physiognomy.” Sullivan likens this to tarring and feathering on the streets of Voorheesville.

  • New Scotland moved the century-old barn across Route 85A in 2016. 

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