Last fall, Rockland voters approved a bond issue that allows the city to expand and repair its sewer lines. Work will begin this summer along Maverick, Brewster, Ulmer, Autumn, Lovejoy, Rankin and Clarendon streets. Residents along those streets will soon be able to connect their homes to the city sewer system, according to a press release from the city.

Connecting private homes to the sewer line is the responsibility of the property owner. To assist income-eligible homeowners or occupants, or property owners who rent their single-family properties to income-eligible tenants, the city established a Sewer Connection Program. This program provides up to $15,000 in zero percent interest rate loans/grants to help connect single-family residences to the sewer line. Funds may also be used for associated plumbing work within the home. The loan/grant is secured by a mortgage on the property and a promissory note held by the city. All loan repayments will be returned to the Sewer Connection Program and used to fund future loans/grants, the city said.

Program funding derives through Maine Community Development Block Grants. To ensure that the Sewer Connection Program benefits low to moderate income property owners, tenants or occupants, proof of income is required. Participants in this program will be asked to complete a Sewer Connection Program application and an income verification form and must provide copies of their most recent tax returns. For rental properties, the tenant will complete the forms; however, the property owner will be responsible for any loan repayment.

All responses will be kept confidential and used solely for documenting low to moderate income household benefits, the city said.

The term of the deferred loan/grant is 10 years. During the first five years of the term, there are no loan payments; and for the next five years, 10 percent of the loan is forgiven for each year the resident continues to own their property. At the end of 10 years, the deferred loan/grant converts to 50 percent loan and 50 percent grant and any remaining balance is due and payable upon the sale or transfer of the property.

For example, if a homeowner received a $15,000 deferred loan/grant and held it for the full 10-year term, the loan would convert to a $7,500 grant and a $7,500 loan with a zero percent interest rate, the city said. The $7,500 loan would then be due when the property was sold or transferred. If the property were sold or transferred before the end of the 10-year term, the remaining balance on the loan/grant would be due and payable at that time.

Loan/grant funds are limited and will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contractor precertification

Rockland is also accepting applications from contractors to be precertified to perform work as part of the upcoming Sewer Connection Program. Contractors performing work as part of the program will be required to complete a precertification application and provide proof of insurance.

Sewer Connection Program applications and income verification forms, along with contractor precertification applications and information on insurance requirements, are available by contacting Ann Matlack, Rockland City Hall, 270 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME 04841. For more information, contact Matlack at amatlack@ci.rockland.me.us or Rodney Lynch at rlynch@ci.rockland.me.us or 594-0306.