Town of Orange leaders are asking for input from home and business owners as they decide how best to fix an expensive sewer problem.
“We have three bad choices,” explained Henry Lee Carter, Town Mayor.
The three proposals each cost millions of dollars and the money will come from the town's taxpayers.
“This is not a situation where one of the options is not to pay anymore money,” said Cole Hendrix, Orange Town Manager.
Changes are required. The Town of Orange is under order from the Department of Environmental Quality to fix a failing sewer plant, that's dumping too much water into the Rapidan River.
Engineers have come up with three options. One is to make changes to the current plant so it will meet the DEQ's standards.
The second is to build a 2 million gallon sewer plant, and the third is to build a three million gallon plant.
The town council agrees building is best.
“We've now taken bids and we know what the new plant will cost,” Hendrix said.
18 to 22 million dollars is the price quoted. The DEQ will loan the town the money, but starting in 2011 Orange will have to pay it back to tune of $800,000 a year.
“We had hoped the money would come from development and I think we may have issued one building permit in the last year in the town of orange. We were hoping 25-40 per year,” Carter said.
No development means increased fees for residents and right now leaders are working to find how much extra that bill will be each month.
“The question at this point is how much would the rates have to be increased to cover that portion,” said Hendrix, adding they are exploring the best ways to get feedback from the community either through town meetings or flyers.