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emerald sewer costs

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The price of living in Emerald Estates went up this week, with the release of projected costs for extending the sewer to all lots in the subdivision. Initial estimates by the municipal engineering department put the cost of the sewer and hooking up to it at between $18,000 and $24,000 per lot. Those figures could be dropped to $12,000-$16,000 if a provincial grant is obtained to cover half of the $7 million sewer line costs. However, there are about six applications to the provincial infrastructure funding program for every one that is approved. The municipality expects a decision on provincial funding by the end of October. Brian Barnett, acting director of public works, outlined the program and its costs to council on Monday. The sewer line itself, including road right of ways, is estimated at $7 million, following field surveys and geotechnical surveys of the area. The cost will be shared 50:50 by the municipality and owners of the 294 lots in Emerald Estates. The 50:50 formula is the standard that has been used in when extending sewer services to other subdivisions. Split among the 294 properties, the $3.5 million cost to Emerald Estates property owners works out to $11,900 per lot. However, there will be additional residential costs. The price of abandoning old sewage systems and connecting to the new sewer line has been estimated at between $2,000 and $6,000, depending on soil conditions. As well, connection fees and works and service charges would be approximately $3,580 per lot, based on 1999 rates. Annual user fees and parcel taxes are $280. The costs could likely be financed through the municipality and payments made at tax time, but estimates of financing costs have not been done. A preliminary meeting with Emerald Estates residents in the spring brought a mixture of responses to the sewer line. Some property owners are desperate for a sewer connection as their septic fields or holding tanks can no longer properly handle the waste. Other home owners have modern holding tanks which work and don’t want the additional expense of hooking up to the sewer. Much of Emerald Estates is on bedrock, which increases the cost of the sewer. The municipality will require all properties to hook up to the sewer. It is also planning to upgrade the water system and the roads in Emerald at the same time as the sewer line is constructed. Replacing water lines, digging a new groundwater well and establishing a new storage reservoir — approximately $1.83 million — would be funded by the municipality through its capital improvements budget. Repaving entire road surfaces, as opposed to patching them, following installation of the sewer would be funded with $400,000 from the transportation reserve. An estimate for the option of putting Hydro and telephone lines underground works out to approximately $20,000 per property. Another information meeting with Emerald Estates residents is planned for September. The municipality hopes to start work on the sewer next spring and complete work in the summer of 2001.

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