April 05, 2020

Greenville mulls water filtration> Selectmen also review downtown improvement plans, ice storm costs

GREENVILLE — Little public comment was heard during a hearing Wednesday on the town’s plan to apply for a $200,000 block grant for construction of a water filtration system.

Earlier this month, Greenville selectmen voted to submit an application for one of the competitive Community Development Block Grants for the construction of a filtration facility. This week’s public hearing was a requirement of the application process.

Greenville residents, who are customers of Consumers Maine Water Co., have been plagued with water that looks and tastes bad because of a combination of iron and manganese. Efforts have been made by the company to correct the problem.

A new filtration system would filter out the chemicals, but the projected costs without a grant would increase water rates by as much as 15 percent or higher, according to company officials. Greenville residents are already paying among the highest water costs in the state, an average of $100 per quarter.

If the town were successful and obtained a grant, the town would own the filtration system, and in turn, agreements would be made to have the water company operate and maintain it, according to Greenville Town Manager David Cota. Residents would need to give their final authorization to accept the grant at a town meeting, he said.

Plans are moving ahead for the downtown improvement project. The town’s project committee will meet next week with the project engineer and landscape architect to review conceptual design plans, Cota said. The town received a $400,000 grant to make improvements in parking, sidewalks, lighting, facades and wharf restoration.

Towards that end, Cota said the town is in the process of moving ahead with the purchase of the old post office lot to help expand parking.

Town officials are looking to recoup about $10,000 that was expended during the infamous ice storm this month. Cota said he believes the town can receive 75 percent of the costs associated with the storm from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Reimbursable costs include overtime spent clearing up the ice and snow, equipment use, contracted equipment and salt and sand.

The town’s cost for these expenses was $12,955, of which 75 percent would be $9,716, Cota said. The big question, he said, was whether the town could recoup the approximately $5,000 the town expended during and after the ice storm for the cleanup of snowmobile trails.

Cota commended the town’s public works department and the numerous volunteers who worked to clear the snowmobile trails, saying that they did a tremendous job which was appreciated.

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