Debate Oak Orchard
Special to Sussex County Online
GEORGETOWN -- Voter eligibility and sources of funds to lower sewer customers' financial burdens marked Sussex County Council's latest round of discussions on the proposed Oak Orchard Sewer District.
County engineer Michael Izzo said at the Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2000 council meeting that new language has been developed regarding voter eligibility for the new referendum on Feb. 12 that was necessitated when council rejected the last referendum, which passed by just 1 vote.
That referendum was rejected due to concerns about the eligibility of some voters.
The new eligibility requirements now state that full-time residents within the proposed sewer district who are 18 years or older, including renters, are eligible to vote in the referendum.
Izzo said property owners who do not live in Oak Orchard full-time should contact the Sussex County Engineering Department for additional criteria regarding their eligibility.
Cost, as it has from the beginning, continued to be a major item of concern for the proposed district.
County administrator Robert "Bob" Stickels said he has learned that the state may contribute a $2 million to $3 million grant along with a low interest loan to help defray the proposed cost of $726 a year to individual sewer customers.
The county will also apply money from the Realty Transfer Tax Subsidy to the project and attempt to obtain short-term loans with lower interest rates, Stickels said.
Stickels said the district could also qualify for a $600,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency Grant available for improving flood plains, though he felt that option was less likely than the others.
Stickels said additional funding sources could include a $100 annual county grant to low income residents, a county loan at 3 percent, money from the Community Development Block Grant Funds, and the Rural Development Administration (RDA) 504 Loan/Grant for very low income individuals and families.
Stickels said the grants and loans could reduce individual property owners' annual fees to anywhere from $595 to $550 a year.
The grants and loans would have different requirements. Stickels said residents interested in the individual loans and grants should contact the county's Utility Division at 302-855-7871.
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