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Bethlehem to bond for sewer upgrades

State grant to pay $3M, town to chip in $2.6M

— The Bethlehem Town Board has approved a plan to bond $2.6 million for sewer improvements in North Bethlehem.

On Wednesday, Jan. 23, town Engineer Paul Penman presented the board with information on the upgrades. A 2007 sewer impact study originally addressed the effect on sewer infrastructure in North Bethlehem and Slingerlands due to new development.

“What we found was that the Delaware Avenue pump station, which this whole area drains through, was at capacity, and almost over capacity,” said Penman. “It really couldn’t take any more flows.”

At the same time, the town found there to be a problem with the interceptor sewer. It was also at capacity and would need to be replaced with a larger capacity size needed for future development.

A plan was put into place to extend the system from Cherry Avenue to Feura Bush. This would divert the flow and take some pressure off of the Delaware Avenue pump station, said Penman. The project would also include repairs to additional sewer lines to allow for future development.

Penman said eventually the entire line will need to be fixed in five or 10 years, but the section identified is worse off.

The town had received a $3 million grant, but the entire project was expected to cost $5 million. The project was split into two phases until enough money was found to finish. Town officials have since been told Bethlehem is eligible for a state subsidized finance rate of 1.5 percent over 30 years to bond for the remainder of the project. This could save the town up to $1.5 million over the life of the bond. The deadline to apply for the lower finance rate is Feb. 1.

Town Comptroller Mike Cohen said the bond would cost the owner of a home valuedat $100,000 about $3.70. However, the town recently closed on a water bond from 2004, so for the next 10 years, resident should only see a slight sewer increase because of the new bond.

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