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Ortt: State budget provides funds to improve water infrastructure

by jmaloni


Tue, Apr 7th 2015 04:05 pm

$200 million in Environmental Facilities Corp. grants available for municipalities

State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-C-I-North Tonawanda, helped to secure $200 million in the recently adopted 2015-16 New York state budget for water infrastructure improvements. As part of the state's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, millions of dollars in Environmental Facilities Corp. grants will be used to replace and repair existing wastewater and drinking water infrastructure in various municipalities across the state. This money will be spread out over the next three years.

"These grants will help address the concerns of our aging infrastructure in dozens of communities throughout my district," Ortt said. "It'll help curb costs for clean water projects and ease some of the burden on our already overtaxed property owners. Improving public health continues to be a high priority for me; upgrading our drinking water supplies is one way we can protect and enhance the lives of many."

Grants may be used to create new infrastructure, in limited instances. They may not, however, be used for storm water infrastructure. Grants will make up 60 percent of the overall cost of water treatment projects. Municipalities can obtain EFC loans or utilize outside resources to finance the remainder of the project.

EFC will decide if municipalities are eligible for the program. Eligibility will be based on hardship criteria, determining whether or not a community can bear increased water rates. If grant money is awarded to an eligible municipality, the program would prevent rates from rising over a certain threshold.

Funds will be appropriated as follows: $50 million for fiscal year 2015-16; $75 million for FY 2016-17; $75 million for FY 2017-18.

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