By Gordon Woodworth, Chronicle News Editor
Work has started on the Village of Lake George’s new wastewater treatment plant, and the State of New York is getting ready to help ease the financial load.
A source I view as credible says state officials will help fund the state-mandated $24-million plant with a grant of at least $7-million, maybe more.
“I’m still optimistic,” Village Mayor Robert Blais said when contacted. “I’m hoping we will receive some consideration. I’ve told everyone to have faith.”
Asked if any state officials have told him funding is coming, Mayor Blais smiled and said, “Not really. Nothing I can tell you.”
The mayor said, “We could afford $8-million or $9-million in debt out of the $24-million. We need another $8-million or $9-million to make it affordable for us.
“We have approached the county for funding, requesting $200,000 a year. But to be fair, we are waiting to see if we don’t get other funds.”
The source said most of the money will likely come from the $2.5-billion the state received in Clean Water Act funding from the federal government. There’s also another round of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s economic development awards at the end of September.
When we asked Mayor Blais when the funding might come, he said, “It could come anytime if it’s out of the Governor’s budget. The CFA funding is announced at the end of September, and we will be under construction for the next two rounds of that funding.
“We could get some this year and some next year. I haven’t talked to the Governor, but I have talked to his budget director, to DEC, and to our local representatives…We’ve made them well aware of our needs.
“We’ve had three conference calls with the Governor’s budget office to share information. He’ll probably want to come up to Lake George and stand by the lake. I’m confident he’s going to help us out and hopefully come up here to see us.”
He noted that Gov. Cuomo went water skiing on Lake George last month.
“He stopped at the Exit 18 visitors center and complimented the people there on how nice it was, and told them he was going to Lake George,” Mayor Blais said.
“He’s well aware of the needs of the North Country and he knows the importance of Lake George.
“He knows Lake George, he uses Lake George, and I’m assuming we will get further consideration for help paying for our new wastewater treatment plant.”
The plant, required under a Department of Environmental Conservation consent order, has already received $7.25-million in state and federal funding. It must be up and running by August of 2021.
Last week, Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik held separate lakeside news conferences to announce a $500,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission.
Ms. Stefanik said she lobbied the commission to expand its borders to include Warren County, leading to the grant.
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