The Borough of Hopatcong held a special public meeting on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 regarding the proposed extension of the Sewer lines into Hudson Avenue.
At the start of the meeting, the Mayor Michael Frances informed the residents that the purpose of the meeting was to provide them with the facts so that they could make an informed decision. The Mayor also made it clear that the 35 effected residents will make the final decision by majority vote. If they vote not to accept the project, the Borough of Hopatcong would abandon the project.
Hopatcong Borough Engineer John Ruschke provided an overview of the project and the costs as they are known today, and how they would be allocated to each resident. Throughout the presentation it was clear that the current rules and costs would also apply to the new sewer project.
Extension to be Discounted by 50% through DEP
The project is expected to cost $600,000 based upon engineering estimates and comes at a time where discounts are available through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP). Initial paperwork from NJ DEP shows at least a 50% reduction and based upon follow-up requests from the Borough of Hopatcong, could be even be discounted higher.
Effected Residents will receive letters in the next several weeks that will provide further information on the final costs, where they will be asked to vote yes, or no to the project.
Key Topics from the Meeting:
Doing the Water Lines at the Same Time?
Several residents asked if water lines could be run at the same time as the sewer lines since the street was already construction. They cited recent failing wells, and the difficulty of drilling new wells due to the logistics of the housing development.
The council and the borough engineer agreed that this would be an ideal time to run water lines, but the Mayor pointed out that the funding was not in the budget, and the NJ DEP would not pay for the water lines. The Borough Engineer pointed out that there is an application filed, and possible funding as a nano-system and it is being considered.
What if you just installed a New Septic System?
A resident from Hudson Avenue cited that she has just installed a new septic system, and would she be required to hook-up to the sewers. The Council and the Borough Engineer indicated that exceptions on granted on a case by case basis.
Is Financial Assistance Available?
What happens if a homeowner cannot afford the new sewer fees? Federal assistance is available through the Hopatcong Borough Affordable Housing Rehabilitation Program 2020 that could provide up to $15,000 for a Home Improvement Loan. Interested residents, can just complete a HUD application that is available on the Boroughs website.
Additional Questions and Topics can be found on the video coverage (limited to 80% of the Q&A portion of the meeting due to an unrecoverable file error.
Council & Mayor provide Open Door for more Questions:
Through out the meeting the Mayor and Council asked that if residents had more questions to please email him (firstname.lastname@example.org), and he or the right person would respond. At the end of the meeting Councilmember Richard Schindelar emphasized “If anyone has further questions, please come talk to us.”
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