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Denmark takes steps to move water project forward

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DENMARK — The recent award of a $400,000 shared services grant from the state’s Local Government Efficiency Program, is enabling the Denmark Town Council to move forward with improvements to the shared water district with the village of Copenhagen, established in 2010.

Stipulations of the grant, however, will force some project reprioritizing.

Initial plans would have installed new water mains for 30-some existing water users, while picking up new users along the new line.

A second phase would have extended the main to unserviced areas, as well as construct a water tank to be shared by both municipalities.

Project engineer Matthew J. Cooper of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, explained that because the grant is awarded to shared municipal projects, it can only be received if the shared tank is part of the initial project.

The water tank will now be constructed in phase one, increasing the price for that portion.

“This is a good first piece, but we still need to seek more funding,” said Mr. Cooper.

Additional grants, applied for through the U.S Department of Agriculture Rural Development and state Environmental Facilities Corp., are still awaiting approval.

Mr. Cooper said the Rural Development grant had given a favorable rating to the project, indicating a likelihood that it could receive a maximum of $750,000 in funding.

The Environmental Facilities Corp., while offering up to $2 million for a project, has a much longer waiting list, if ever approved at all.

Mr. Cooper did not anticipate an award in the next two years from that funding source.

In addition, Mr. Cooper said he was informed of a resolution from the Town of Denmark Board stating upon receipt of indication about the potential for receiving a Rural Development grant the board would withdraw other applications from other sources, to further increase the chances of receiving the Rural Development grant.

After consideration, the board agreed to pass the resolution, noting two key factors in the decision.

First, the original $400,000 grant must be spent in three years or it will be lost.

Secondly, the current water system has been troubled for a number of years and needs immediate replacement.

“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush,” said Mr. Cooper.

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