PHILADELPHIA, April 24, 2009 – On April 22, State Sen. Anthony H. Williams was joined by 30 Delaware County local elected officials for the continuation of his Council of Presidents meeting series. Representatives from Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) discussed with the elected officials about various sources of funding for water and sewer infrastructure projects and how to qualify.
“Over the years I’ve had many meetings with borough officials, and many of the boroughs were seeking funds for similar projects,” Williams said. “The goal of the Council of Presidents meetings was to coordinate funding requests and infrastructure updates on a larger scale, helping to save money and increase efficiency.”
Williams initiated these meetings in April of 2008 in order to facilitate planning for these regional infrastructure projects. Due to flooding issues and aging sewer infrastructure in Delaware County, water and sewer projects have been a priority. ““We just went through the CBDG (Community Development Block Grant) process, and we received numerous requests for sewer infrastructure repair work,” said Linda Cartisano, chair of the Delaware County Council. “One of the Council’s concerns is what can we do to try and help municipalities that are facing sewers that are 100 or 150 years old.”
Prior to this week’s meeting, borough and township officials provided PENNVEST and DEP with current concerns and project ideas. At the meeting the PENNVEST and DEP representatives discussed the different funding sources available from the federal stimulus package, the H2O PA program and other state funding sources.
As part of the federal stimulus, titled The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Pennsylvania will receive $220 million for water enhancements. A minimum of 20 percent, or $44 million, must fund green infrastructure projects like rain barrels, tree planting, green roofs or other water and energy conservation programs. “People realize that [green infrastructure] is a natural and cost effective way of controlling runoff,” said Vicki Johnson, regional director of PENNVEST. It’s not only better for our economy and better for our infrastructure but it beautifies our lives as well.”
Williams and the local elected officials agreed to have the Delaware County Council take the lead for submitting funding requests to the state and federal elected officials since the Council had already collected lists of these priorities from the municipalities earlier this year. Within the next couple months, the Delaware County Council will schedule a meeting with representatives from several elected officials’ offices, in order to emphasize and discuss these water and sewer priorities.
“Qualifying for these public funds is a complicated procedure, which is why it is so important that all the boroughs are working together,” Williams said. “The application process for these federal funds is happening very quickly, but with everyone on the same page we can make sure that the funds are going to the projects in need.”
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