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Town Offered Loan, not Grant, for Mountain View Rd. Water Line Replacement

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News Post

The Emmitsburg Town Government have been offered a federal loan to replace a water line serving 28 homes on the outskirts of town. But there's a chance the funds may never be tapped.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office approved a $414,000 loan to upgrade the Mountain View Road drinking water supply line. The interest rate for the loan is 4.5 percent, and the town has up to 40 years to repay it.

But Mayor Jim Hoover was disappointed by the offer. The town was not awarded a grant that could have paid for up to 40 percent of the project.

Emmitsburg commissioners have held cost-sharing discussions with the people who would benefit from the line. Mr. Hoover said another meeting will be arranged soon, and the potential cost to those residents is far from finalized.

"They may say they can't afford it," Mr. Hoover said.

David Haller, Emmitsburg's town manager, said the line existed when the town bought the water system from the Emmitsburg Water Co. in the 1960s. The pipe is not big enough to serve the homes adequately, resulting in poor water pressure and quality.

"It's been tough on the residents," Mr. Haller said.

Emmitsburg began the loan application process in August 2001, he said. The project's engineering is complete, and Mr. Haller hopes a decision is made soon so construction can be completed by October.

The new line would be put in the same right of way as the existing line, Mr. Haller said. A temporary, aboveground line would be installed so service isn't interrupted.

While the town has the full amount of the loan at its disposal, Mr. Haller said engineers think the project will cost about $350,000. The town has spent about $20,000 on engineering and an environmental impact study.

If the loan is accepted, Mr. Haller expects the town to retire the debt in 20 years by paying $25,000 annually.

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