Recorder News Staff

FONDA — The village of Fonda is pushing toward water and sanitary sewer upgrades.

The village board heard a presentation from Jack McDonald and Tom Bates of John M. McDonald Engineering at the June 12 monthly meeting and passed six resolutions related to applying for grant funds. McDonald and Bates discussed preliminary engineering reports for the water and sewer in the village. The firm is assisting the village in applying for grants that would be used to upgrade its water and sewer systems.

The village is applying for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (DWSRF). Funds are jointly administered from the Environmental Facilities Corporation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. According to the executive summary in the water system improvements engineering report, the village has experienced seasonal poor water quality throughout the years due to the deterioration of the water filtration plant and associated components.

In an effort to fix the issues, according to the report, the village should install reservoir aeration, intake improvements and eliminate cross connections. It should also replace and upgrade aging and deteriorated filters, piping, valves, remove iron/manganese and components at the filter plant.

Engineers also suggested replacing eight-inch water main at various locations. This would be 900 feet on Railroad Street, 2,000 feet on Park Street, 4,000 feet on Hickory Hill Road and approximately 2,000 feet of existing undersized main in the village. The work would include associated service laterals, valves and hydrants. The total estimated cost for repairs is $3.6 million.

“Our filtration is our largest priority and getting the control of the manganese that was causing discoloration in the past years,” Mayor William Peeler said Thursday. “Also getting that under control and getting the particular transmission pipe removed that comes from the filtration plant and replacing it is another priority of ours.”

According to the executive summary in the sanitary sewer system improvements engineering report, the village sanitary sewer system has been experiencing inflow and infiltration throughout the years from within the existing sewer collection system. The existing inflow and infiltration causes high flows at the wastewater treatment plant and limits the plant’s capacity as well as causes unnecessary cost to treat rain water runoff and groundwater.

In an effort to fix the issues, according to the report, the village should replace sanitary sewer mains with new eight-inch PVC mains by open cut method on various streets. This would include: approximately 420 feet on Upper Prospect Street; 315 feet on Eagle Street; 660 feet on Montgomery Terrace; 240 feet on Lower Prospect Street; and 415 on Putnam Avenue. Associated manholes, lateral hookups and road restoration are some other examples of improvements. The total estimated cost for repairs is $1.1 million.

“It was pretty much what I had anticipated,” Peeler said of the report Thursday. “There are more details that are needed because that is not going to solve all of the problems of our world. So we need to discuss that further as far as finances go.”

He had also suggested to the engineers getting a software program that would allow his crews to track through GPS coordinates the pipes that have been replaced and their exact locations, rather than having to guess the locations.

Village board members passed a resolution to authorize the issuance of a $3.6 million serial bond to finance reconstruction and improvement of the village water system, as well as a $1.1 million serial bond to finance the reconstruction and improvement of the village sanitary system. This does not hold the village to any financial responsibility, Peeler said, but states the village would be willing to go forward with the bonds if it receives grant funding.

“We tried to include everything we could to improve the water quality,” Bates said at the village board’s monthly meeting.

McDonald said after the grant application is submitted, it gets rated and evaluated. He expects an announcement for recipients in September or October.

“At that point you will have a sense of how much you are going to get and we are optimistic about it,” he said.

Trustee Lynn Dumar said at the meeting receiving the funds would be a nice positive for the village.

Peeler said depending on the outcome, the village is willing to get the bonds to cover the remaining portion of the work. He said there will be another public meeting when it gets to that point.

“Hopefully this will at least get us to plateau so we can continue going after the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) as they are made available and those sorts of things and then take it from there,” Peeler said.

He did mention, however, that if the village had a higher share of sales tax revenue they may be able to be self-sufficient in fixing the infrastructure issues.

“The villages have been forgotten about,” Peeler said Thursday. “My personal opinion is that state-wide, they need to look at the distribution of sales tax. It should be either population or assessed value based along with where is the sales tax derived from. If it’s derived from within the village it should go back to village.”

Peeler said this would cause a ripple effect.

“The state generated revenue that has to be used to fund these grants would not be as necessary as it is currently under the current system because if we can take care of our issues, our own problems through sales tax then we wouldn’t have to go to different divisions of the state and say we need funding.”