Actually, the two villages only became aware of the extent and cost of the project recently. And the impact on their residents is the most significant.
Little or no outreach was made by the County to the Village authorities or to their constituents to "market" the idea.
If you look at the "stakeholder" lists, the TOWNS were included, not the Village governments. The Villages own the sewer collection systems and are served by the County District. The Towns have no horse in the race, although, clearly Town residents are impacted.
The County ignored the Villages, even though the poverty levels in the Villages of Ovid, Lodi and, possibly, Interlaken, gave the county project higher scores with better chances of grants and loans.
They, like you, assumed that the Villages had no other options, and that when the BOS gave final approval, they would just go along.
No one expected the villages to start asking questions, especially about whether the project is sustainable financially. Can the customers pay for it going forward?
The answer is no.
In fact, the closure of Hillside is a dandy example. The Hillside plant costs at least $100,000/year to run. Hillside has been paying $12,000/quarter and $48,000/year (to serve 79 students, but I digress). Is the IDA going to make up the loss? If the plant remains open, who is going to pay to run it? So the County is going to close the plant.....but what is the IDA going to do with the buildings that now have no sewage treatment. And to lease or sell the buildings, the IDA will need to find treatment services.
The same types of questions face the Villages. The best example is the Eagle Hotel. That is proposed to pay the equivalent rate of 15 houses, but it is closed. Who is going to make up those payments, going forward.
Now that the Villages are aware of the impact of the proposal on their residents, they are investigating their options. Their "consultant" is charging $1.00 for the year, and no mileage or expenses, so move on with that.
The Villages actually have some good options. They can go to USDA Rural Development for feasibility studies and grants and loans....and there is a lot more money available to them than the county:Billions available for rural water and wastewater projects
Contact: Jay Fletcher
WASHINGTON, D.C., , July 30, 2018 — Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced a historic commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure.
“USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures,” Hazlett said. “All people – regardless of their zip code – need modern, reliable infrastructure to thrive, and we have found that when we address this need, many other challenges in rural places become much more manageable.”
Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.
USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Below are a few examples of USDA’s latest investment of $164 million for 54 projects including a project in Alto, NM.
This Rural Development investment will be used to pay for a cost overrun to construct a water tank owned and operated by the Alto North Water Cooperative. The project includes the construction of a 60,000-gallon water tank and the demolition of the old water tank. Installing a new larger water tank is more feasible than repairing the existing one. The new, 60-foot-tall water tank will be located at the reservoir and will deliver better service by providing 35 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water pressure to customers in the upper portion of the service area. Customers in the lower zone will see 60 PSI, which meets the state's minimum required pressure. Having 60,000 gallons of water storage also meets state fire flow requirements of 500 gallons per minute for two hours. The Alto North Water Cooperative is 5.3 miles north of Ruidoso, N.M., at an elevation of 7,300 feet. The Alto North Water Cooperative water system serves five businesses and 45 residences.
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.