By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Town Council voted 8-1 in favor of a bond ordinance for improvements to the Southington Water Pollution Control Facility.
The bond ordinance approved by the council on June 13, with councilor John Barry (D) opposing, approved $57, 100, 000 for improvements to the plant.
The plan for the plant, prepared by Tighe & Bond, Middletown, includes improvements to existing buildings and structures, replacement and modification of existing equipment, new phosphorus reduction and UV systems, headworks facilities, new controls and computers, site work, and improved electrical, HVAC, and odor control systems.
Southington residents will have the opportunity to vote on the spending for these improvements in a referendum vote this fall.
Councilor Edward Pocock III, chairman of the Sewer Committee, reported the committee will be releasing a video to inform the public on the planned improvements and spending. The video will provide design and construction plans, and economic information, including grants applied to and potential penalties of up to $11 million per-year from the state that will be avoided if these upgrades are completed.
“We plan to go out and educate the public regarding this project so they know what it is,” Town Manager Garry Brumback told the Board of Finance on June 13. “This is probably the most critical project done in the last 25 or 30 years.”
Brumback reported at a special BOF meeting on June 13 the project is time sensitive, because they need to have the project under contract by 2018, and completed by 2021. If they do not meet these deadlines, the town will be at risk to lose $17 million in state grants and a low interest Clean Water Fund loan, and will face fines of up to $11 million per-year.
BOF Chairman John Leary said it is in the best interest of the town to update the sewer plant. “It is very clear it has to be done,” said Leary, “There are many reasons why it is necessary.”
The cost of the plan required the town to raise the debt ceiling from 8 percent of gross expenditures, to 9.5 percent. The council also voted to approve this increase on June 13.