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Worthington gets $3 million for sewers

| Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005

WORTHINGTON -- Homeowners facing high sewage bills to use an expanded sewer system may have gotten the break they were hoping for thanks to nearly $3 million in grants and loans awarded Wednesday.

The Worthington-West Franklin Joint Municipal Authority has been hoping that funds from the state's PENNVEST program would afford them the ability to expand the sewer system through the borough and nearby neighborhoods using 90,000 feet of sewer lines and construction of a treatment plant and pumping station.

Dwight Claypoole, chair of the authority, said he was "humbly appreciative" of the announcement Tuesday and hoped it would allow the authority to go ahead with construction of the system at a lower cost to customers than previously projected.

"With the cost of the project coming in higher than expected, we would have had to charge customers almost $60 a month to help pay for the system," he said. "Now, with this extra money, we are hoping to be able to drop that to about $50."

The municipal authority was waiting for the announcement because the project bids expire on Nov. 30, Claypoole said.

"If we would have had to wait until spring and rebid the project, it would have cost who knows how much more," he said. "Hopefully we can now accept the bids and move forward with the project as we planned."

"I know that we can't please everyone in this situation, but we are going to try to maintain a balance of rural, agricultural space and development in the area," he said. "We want to be able to bring the infrastructure here so we can bring controlled development here."

State Sen. Don White, R-41st, and state Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-60th, said they were happy they could help provide the additional funding the authority needed to move the project forward. Both had been asked by the authority to assist in providing additional funds.

"This is an important project and this money may have just helped save it from being scrapped," White said.

The project estimate was $12.4 million, with the authority left to come up with an additional $4 million to be able to go ahead with the project. The authority had received $1 million from the Rural Utility Service, leaving it to come up with $2.9 million.

The PENNVEST money awarded Tuesday came in the form of a $1 million grant and a $1.9 million low interest loan, giving the authority the rest of the money needed, Claypoole said.

The expanded system is to provide service to 715 customers in Worthington Borough, Claypoole Road, Craigsville and Laird's Crossing.

The municipal authority will vote on the project at its scheduled meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. in the municipal authority's office on East Main Street.

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