Lincolnville sewer vote set for February

By Susan Mustapich | Jan 09, 2018
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Improving wastewater treatment in the Lincolnville Beach area is contingent on a guarantee of $190,000 in funding from the town.

LINCOLNVILLE — Construction of a new $3.2 million wastewater treatment facility at Lincolnville Beach hinges on a public vote to authorize the town to commit $190,000 to the project over the next 10 years.

Selectmen voted unanimously Jan. 8 to put the question before voters. Town Administrator David Kinney said the special town meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, at Lincolnville Central School.

He said the purpose of the meeting is for voters to authorize town officials to sign a contract outlining a guarantee of the full $190,000. He said the source of the full amount has not yet been determined.

The proposed wastewater treatment plant would serve residences, businesses and organizations along Route 1, from Windsor Chairmakers to Dot's, and along Route 173 from Route 1 to the Schoolhouse Museum. It would replace a sewage system built in 1991 that serves a handful of businesses. To date, trustees of the Lincolnville Sewer District have secured over $3.2 million in federal and state grants and loans for the new facility.

In November, trustee Jennifer Temple told selectmen millions of dollars in federal funding secured by the Lincolnville Sewer District are contingent on a guaranteed local contribution of $190,000. Temple is one of three trustees, along with Paul Lippman and Niel Wienges.

At the time, Temple said that without the local commitment, the sewer district could lose a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant committed to the project.

Earlier in 2017, sewer district trustees told selectmen that $19,000 in local funding was needed annually for 10 years, to go toward a $1.6 million loan from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

At the time, selectmen expressed support of the new wastewater treatment facility at Lincolnville Beach, and authorized a warrant article that would create a new Wastewater Capital Reserve Account, from which the sewer district could request the $19,000 annually. At the June town meeting, voters approved a proposal to seed the new reserve account with $25,000.

However, in November, USDA's Rural Utilities Service said it requires a guarantee that the town will contribute the full $190,000 and expressed concern about distributing the funding over 10 years.

The LSD website at lincolnvillesewer.com shows that, of 66 lots in the district, 16.7 percent have no septic system plans on file with the town, mainly because septic plan approval was not required for buildings prior to 1983. Another 19.7 percent of properties use a holding tank method for sewer treatment.

Lincolnville Beach has been closed 62 times in the past 12 years for unsafe levels of bacteria attributed to insufficient and aging septic systems in the area, according to Lippman.

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