News good on Macy’s, bay funding
April 1, 2011
MARTINSBURG - Steve Christian, executive director of the Berkeley County Development Authority and the Berkeley County Council members on Thursday heard reports on progress with Macy's development and the impact of the Chesapeake Bay Funding Bill that recently passed in the West Virginia Legislature. While both presentations came as part of regular first-quarter updates for the council, the presentations gave council members the latest news and the opportunity to thank those involved. . . .
Council members also heard good news from Curtis Keller of the Berkeley County Public Service District. Keller gave an update on the local financial impact of the Senate Bill 245 or the Chesapeake Bay Funding Bill. The bill, approved this session, sets aside $6 million per year for 30 years from surplus lottery revenues to finance bonds to fund upgrades, improvements and new construction at 13 wastewater treatment plants throughout the greater, eight-county Eastern Panhandle, which is in the Potomac River watershed. Five of the 13 plants are in Berkeley County.
Keller said the estimated construction cost for the 13 projects is $200 million. He said the approved state funding would provide 40 to 45 cents of each dollar spent on bond financing. If the construction costs can be lowered, Keller said, the grant funds could cover more.
"Depending on where those costs come in (the grant funding should be 40 to 45 cents)," Keller said. "Our target was to try and get 50 percent in grant money."
Final construction cost estimates for the 13 plants are expected by the end of the year, Keller said, adding that once the estimates are finished, the financing can be finalized.
Keller gave Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, praise for his work on getting the legislation passed.
Improvements at the 13 plants are needed to meet new, stringent pollution-reduction mandates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay Restoration program.