The Planning Commission thought it would be helpful to detail everything that's been done and spent on the project to date:
Westford Community Wastewater Project
Planning Grants, Construction Grants, and Town Expenditures:
January 1, 2007 - February 14, 2022
Planning Grants and Town Expenditures:
• 2007-2008 Planning Advance: The Town received a “planning advance” from the State of Vermont to fund the first Feasibility Study. This Feasibility Study determined the status of existing wastewater systems and completed a desktop identification of suitable soils for a community wastewater system in the Town Center Area. The Feasibility Study also included
recommendations for securing and utilizing grandfathered systems in the Town Center Area. The planning advance consisted of $15,000 in State funds which is normally repaid by inclusion in the bond amount if the system is constructed. However, the State recently proposed zeroing out this loan with a Pollution Control Grant if the system is constructed. There is no payback requirement if a community system is not constructed.
• 2012-2013: Town General Fund: The Town spent $673 to investigate the soils and existing wastewater system at the Spiller property. This data was critical during discussions with the Agency of Natural Resources to secure the “grandfathered” system capacity that now serves the Westford Country Store and Café.
• 2013-2014 Municipal Planning Grant & Planning Commission Special Project Funds: The Town received a $10,715 municipal planning grant. The majority of this grant was used to update the zoning bylaws for the Town Center Area, specifically developing the Form Based Code. A small portion ($1,999) was used for soil testing of municipal and community owned properties identified in 2007-2008 to investigate possible suitability for onsite wastewater. The local match requirement was $120 paid from Planning Commission Special Project Funds. The Town’s knowledge of soil conditions at the Town Office, Town Common, Brick Meeting House, and Common Hall is a result of this investigation.
• 2015-2016 Municipal Planning Grant& Planning Commission Special Project Funds: The Town secured an additional Municipal Planning Grant to investigate the soils at the Jackson Property, now known as the Maple Shade Town Forest. This involved a $15, 826 grant with $2,608 a local match requirement paid from Planning Commission Special Project Funds.
• 2017-2018 General Fund: The Town purchased a legal easement to place a proposed valve vault and dosing station on private property across the road from the proposed future wastewater area. The total cost was $5,893.
• 2018-2019 Planning Commission Special Project Funds: The Town spent $7,105 to further investigate suitable soils at the Jackson Property and develop conceptual wastewater plans. This investigation was funded from Planning Commission Special Projects Funds.
• 2020-2021 Step 1 Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund: The Town received “Step 1” approval to fund a Preliminary Engineering Report and Environmental Information Document which are required to receive additional State and Federal funding. The total cost was $39,050, with 50% ($19,525) funded by the State. The remaining $19,525 has been rolled into the Step 2 Clean Water Revolving Loan (see below) and will be rolled into the total bond/grant amount if the system is constructed. If the system is not constructed this amount will be repaid per the amortization schedule from Planning Commission Special Project Funds.
• 2021-2022 Step 2 Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund: The Town received “Step 2” approval to fund final design, permitting, and other engineering necessary for an informed bond vote. The total project cost $250,531. The first $125,000 is structured as a fully “forgivable loan” with no payback requirements regardless of whether or not the system is constructed. At the recommendation of the Planning Commission, the Selectboard specifically directed that no part of the remaining cost be incurred prior to receiving additional funding or a positive bond vote.
Construction Grant Funding:
• 2021 Northern Borders Regional Commission/Economic Development Administration: The Town has been awarded a $466,194 grant from the Northern Borders Regional Commission/Economic Development Administration for construction of the system.
• 2022 State of Vermont Pollution Control Grant: The Town has informally been offered a $15,000 Pollution Control Grant in order to zero out the Planning Advance received in 2007- 2008. Confirmation of said award would occur upon submission of a Step 3 Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund application for construction.
• 2022 State of Vermont American Recuse Plan Act: The State of Vermont has notified the Town that the State will award up to $2,377,136 in American Recuse Plan Act funds dedicated to village wastewater solutions. The details of this grant are still being worked out at the State level and additional information will be provided when available.
Since 2007, the Town has spent $16,399 in town funds in order to leverage $174,622 in state grants. The grant money was used to investigate potential solutions to long standing wastewater challenges in the Town Center Area. The Town has recently secured over $2.4 million in construction grants.
The Planning Commission is happy to report that the State of Vermont has committed funding of no less than $2,377,136 for the Westford Community Wastewater Project. This is the largest grant the Town has ever been awarded and is more than we had expected - even Governor Scott mentioned this commitment to Westford in his State of the State Address! (https://governor.vermont.gov/press-release/governor-phil-scott-delivers-2022-state-state-address)
This significant State investment will greatly improve affordability for the Town and system users. And this funding is on top of Northern Borders Regional Commission grant already awarded in the fall of 2021. Congratulations to our Town!
Stay tuned for more updates through the coming weeks and months.