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Federal funds possible for septic project

CORNWALL — A federal grant program that could cover a significant portion of costs for the West Cornwall septic project was discussed at a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Monday, March 29, conducted by Zoom.

“I have worked in recent days on the grant application,” First Selectman Gordon Ridgway said, noting that the grant application deadline is Friday, April 9. The application will ask for 75% of the project’s costs, leaving the balance to be provided by the town in matching funds. 

The Community Projects grant program is designed to support infrastructure including roads, bridges, sewers and public health programs. Ridgway said he has been in close touch with the office of U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-5) and that she has been working along with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3) on helping the town in the funding effort.

Hayes has been actively seeking proposals from the 41 towns in the district, Ridgway said.

A previous application submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)would fund 45% of the project costs. Ridgway noted that the engineering work done for the USDA grant proposal will serve well for this new application. While the Community Projects program does not preclude asking for 100% of the costs, Ridgway said that his experience is that successful applications generally include some promise of local funding in partial support.

Ridgway said that if this new Community Projects grant application is successful — and he added that there is no assurance that it will be — it might change the scheduling of local public meetings and voting on the project. 

“We have a good relationship with Rep. Hayes’ congressional offices,” Ridgway said. “If we can get this grant, it will be in the town’s interest to do so.”

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