Hagerstown council votes to borrow $7.4 million for wastewater plant project

October 29, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown will borrow about $7.4 million to help pay for a multimillion-dollar project to upgrade the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Hagerstown City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to borrow the money from the Maryland Department of the Environment's State Revolving Loan Fund at a projected rate of about 1 percent.

"The city plans to fund the repayment of these loans through a 20-year bond issue," City Utilities Director Michael Spiker said Tuesday before the council voted.

According to city documents, the upgrades that will cost more than $16 million were mandated by the MDE to help the wastewater treatment facility comply with environmental standards.


Spiker said the city will pay the majority of the project's cost, or about $9.5 million, using state grants.

Of the $7.4 million that the council agreed to borrow, about $4.3 million would be used to help pay for an ultraviolet disinfection system, Spiker said. The rest of the loan, or about $3.1 million, would be used to upgrade the headworks, or the area where the wastewater enters the plant.

Spiker said if everything goes as planned, work could begin within the next few months and be finished in the fall of 2010.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said after the meeting that the city had no choice but to go forward with the project.

"We were court-ordered to do it," Metzner said. "It's the appropriate thing to do."

The city was ordered to complete the project to improve the quality of water that flows into the Chesapeake Bay, he said.

Because more than half of the project will be paid for with grants, and the city received a favorable interest rate, Metzner said the council's choice was "a no-brainer."

"This gets us as high-tech as there is in the nation," Metzner said. "The Chesapeake Bay needs all the help it can get."

How they voted:

Martin E. Brubaker, yes

Kelly S. Cromer, yes

Lewis C. Metzner, yes

Penny M. Nigh, yes

Alesia D. Parson-McBean, yes

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