New Milford Sewer Commission proposes connection plan for Pettibone
NEW MILFORD — The town will have nine years to pay off the connection fees for the John Pettibone Community Center to join the town sewer line.
The Sewer Commission unanimously supported that proposal after discussing three options at Monday’s meeting and agreeing it was the most in line with precedent and existing regulations. The town still has to accept it.
The connection fee is about $57,000.
Scott Chamberlain, the Sewer Commission’s chairman, as well as a Town Council member, said he met with the town’s finance director, Lee Palmer, to discuss the payment options.
Chamberlain told the commission the town is unable to pay the full amount now because of the uncertainty surrounding the state budget and what that could mean for the town’s state funding. Under the expected executive order announced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last Friday, if a budget isn’t passed, New Milford’s funding would be cut by about $10 million.
The Sewer Commission’s preferred method is to require the town to pay $5,000 and then finance the remaining amount over nine annual payments with a 5.5 percent interest rate. This is the same option available to anyone paying connection fees of more than $10,000. The town can always pay off the full balance before the nine years end.
“There’s absolutely no special consideration for the town,” Chamberlain said. “The negative is we get less in our coffers up front, and the net positive is our money goes further.”
When asked, Chamberlain said he expects Palmer will pay off the entire connection fee as soon as he can because there are no other loans where the town’s interest rates are that high.
“I don’t know about you, but I would pay the most expensive one first,” Chamberlain said.
Another option would be to assess the the square footage included in the zoning application, rather than the entire building as it is now. The town would pay this amount immediately, and then the other connection fees would be paid as more of the building is occupied.
Pete Bass, who also sits on the Town Council and the Sewer Commission, raised concerns about this proposal because he said it could open up the town to having several payment methods on the building. He said this has never been done before.
Another option discussed would be to pay the whole amount, but defer that payment until the next fiscal year. This also has never been done before.
“If we wait until the next fiscal year, we can recover it in one fell swoop,” Chamberlain said.