BERLIN — Although there is much to be done in the coming months, the wastewater plant upgrade should come in at more than $4 million below the approved bond funding, according to Town Administrator Tony Carson.
The mayor and council this week approved a bond measure to secure the next phase of the plant’s construction — the pipes to carry the effluent to the spray field — at a cost of about $3.5 million. The bonded amount will be a little more than $2.4 million at an interest rate of 2.5 percent over 40 years. The bond will be secured as a loan from the USDA.
In addition to the loan, the town will receive $1,037,350 in grants from the USDA and spend $650 in cash for the work.
Water Resources Director Jane Kreiter said she was happy with the way the work has progressed.
“We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said, reminding the council of their facility tour on Aug. 22. “And you won’t have to bring your boots.”
At the beginning of the year, the town authorized up to $10 million in bonds for the project. Carson told the council that it was likely the town would have to bond less than $6 million.
He added that some bonds the town has already taken were secured at a rate of four percent but that the staff is working to see if those higher interest rates can be refinanced after all of the deals are done.
In other business, work will likely begin soon on the Cottages at Berlin, a low-income independent living facility to be built near Purnell Crossing. Planning Supervisor Chuck Ward told the council the construction permits were finalized and on his desk waiting for pickup.
“Hopefully we’ll see groundwork at the Cottages out there pretty soon,” said Mayor Gee Williams said.
Electric Company Director Tim Lawrence told the council that his department was placing its last fuel order for the year and all indicators suggest the final fuel cost will be well below budget estimates, barring any emergency needs.
During his presentation, Community Development and Economic Director Michael Day reminded the council about the Peach Festival this coming Sunday and also that the State Champion Berlin Little League All Star Team, which was recently eliminated in regional play, would be honored with a parade staring 11 a.m.
The council also approved a request for a special permit for “Praise in the Park” 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. The annual event is run and sponsored by the Calvary Pentecostal Church.