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Town Of Clymer Hears Presentation From Engineer On Water Project

Matt Zarbo with Square Engineering presents his plans for the water project to the Clymer Town Board. P-J photo by Sara Holthouse

CLYMER — Clymer officials are looking for funding for a water project in the town.

Matt Zarbo with Square Engineering discussed options for the upcoming water project in the town with Town Board members recently. Brian Willink, town supervisor, said the board had received letters of interest from three different engineering firms, and Zarbo was in attendance at the meeting to present his plans for the project and how he would like to see it go. Zarbo discussed more grant opportunities with the board, along with the need to have a public hearing during the July meeting to discuss applying for another $2 million grant. Zarbo said they had hoped the town would be considered for additional funding for the project through Nick Langworthy’s office and they were not, but he added that there is a chance to get more funding from Senator Chuck Schumer or Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office.

“At the end of the day, we will apply next year,” Zarbo said. “I think they know that you guys kind of got the short stick when Reed left office and you were selected and he left office so they got rid of all of that money.”

Zarbo talked about the first step of starting the water project with the board, which is engineering. He gave a specific form to the board that gets used on many projects that breaks down the engineering costs and administrative costs and construction and all other costs the board might have with the project. All costs presented at the moment are soft costs that are far under the original budget, as Zarbo said it was a good idea for this project to aim to budget high instead of average. Most of the time a final cost will be a lot less than the budget.

The board currently has a $5 million grant to work with for the project, and Zarbo said he would expect that number to increase, along with the possibility of a zero percent interest.

Willink asked for a reminder on how the current grant works. Zarbo said that right now it is a 60% grant that could turn into a 70% grant, but will still cap at $5 million.

“Once you close on financing with EFC, once this round of your income survey gets approved, you will likely have a zero percent interest financing,” Zarbo said. “You’re probably not going to close on financing with EFC until early 2025. My suggestion, knowing what’s ahead and knowing that you have the 60% grant, would be to start moving forward with design now.”

To move forward with design, the board will need to get a bond anticipation note. Zarbo said it would make sense for them to take that out, which is essentially a bridge loan, and take other options to secure short term funding while waiting for the state. Zarbo suggested moving forward with Municipal Solutions as a contractor to get short term financing set up, which he added they can do basically in a month.

“There is an application due for a $2 million grant at the end of July,” Zarbo said. “I give you guys a very strong chance of getting that if you decide to move forward with design.”

A CDBG grant would ask for the project to be bidded out by April or May of next year, but bids cannot go out until funding is approved. Zarbo said with that money he sees $7 million with the grant and zero percent interest for the rest. Right now the only guarantee is the $5 million grant.

Zarbo said the town knows how the project needs to go and what needs to happen.

“The work and design that we do you know is going to be good,” Zarbo said. “You know this water main is going to have to be replaced. You know that over the next ten years you’re going to have to replace it or obviously deal with the consequences of not. The work that we do under the lump sum phases is going to be good throughout that entire process.”

Zarbo added that it is very flexible from here and that the contract is written to be flexible. The board voted and approved moving forward with the project and to have Square Engineering as the official engineering firm for the project. A public hearing to discuss the CDBG grant will happen during the July meeting.

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