By BEURMOND BANVILLE
FORT KENT, Me., Nov. 15, 2000 (Bangor Daily News)— The Fort Kent Town Council was informed Monday night that a Community Development Block Grant to assist in the funding of an aeration system for the municipal water supply will not happen, at least this year.
The municipal water system has not been in compliance with water quality guidelines since 1972 due to elevated levels of lead and copper. A $650,000 aeration system would remedy the situation.
The town hoped to get $250,000 from CDBG, a federally funded program. The town has been approved for a $300,000 loan from the state Drinking Water Fund and hopes that more money will come from that loan program.
"We have received confirmation that the application for the aeration system violates a subsequent year award," Charles Rudelitch, Fort Kent's economic development coordinator, said Monday night. "We cannot apply because it is in the same category as the water and sewer main grant we received this year.
"It backs up our plans for at least one year," Rudelitch continued. "We plan to continue gathering information for the project, and we can submit the application next year."
The decision by the state can't be appealed, the town councilors were told. Rudelitch said the project is still a viable one, even though the application period is one year away.
Councilors opted for the CDBG application for the aeration system over a proposal to help rectify bad roads and water problems in the Park Circle area, and a proposal to enter into a partnership project with SAD 27 to renovate a building which would serve as a CHIPPY Center, a reading and computer center for low-income families.
Rudelitch said the Park Circle project cannot meet low and moderate income guidelines for a CDBG project.
Rudelitch previously said the SAD 27 CHIPPY project would have had a good chance of being funded because of the partnership approach, and because the program assists mostly people of low and moderate income.
The town opted for the aeration project to minimize the cost to users of the water system. The aeration system has been a municipal priority for a long time.
The project, said Town Manager Donald Guimond, is one of the few priorities of the 1992 Comprehensive Plan that has not been completed.
Until January of this year, the Fort Kent Utility District was a quasi-municipal organization with its own board of directors. The district included the services for both municipal water and sewer utilities.
In January, the district was dissolved and the two utilities became a department of the town. Its operations are overseen by the town council and Guimond. The water utility has 750 customers, mostly in the urban area of town.
© 2000 Bangor Daily News Bangor, ME via Bell&Howell Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.