Vernon plans to use its $1.7 million allotment from the American Rescue Plan to improve the water and wastewater infrastructure in the Town Center.
The Vernon Township Council revealed its plan on Aug. 10. A public hearing on the proposed ordinance will be held at the Aug. 23 council meeting.
Council President Harry Shortway said expanding water into the Town Center will encourage the development of properties there and raise revenue through the increased use of water and sewer services.
The township was originally obligated to send 265,000 gallons of sewage per day to the Sussex County Municipal Authority. In 2013, the township was sending only about 215,000 gallons per day.
“We’re paying for air and not sewage,” Shortway said.
He said that since the installation of water pipes on Main Street and near the Acme supermarket, the Town Center is seeing movement, with interest from prospective developers in locating a Circle K convenience store and car wash there.
The federal funds will also bring the sewer project started 10 years ago to a welcome completion. “This is an opportunity to go forward and complete the sewer project,” Shortway said.
Township engineer Cory Stoner said the quantity of water that can come into the Town Center is limited, however.
The Suez Water company “has the capacity that the state will allow them to bring water out of the wells by the lower lodge,” Stoner said. “But to get it into the Town Center, they need to do the upgrades and show they have the capacity.”
Resident Ann Larsen objected to the idea of using the American Rescue funds to improve sewers. “I think that money can be best used by the actual constituents of the township,” she said. “Maybe, before you put it toward the sewers, you should put it out for a vote and see what the actual taxpayers want to use that money for.”
“I think that money can be best used by the actual constituents of the township. Maybe, before you put it toward the sewers, you should put it out for a vote and see what the actual taxpayers want to use that money for.” Township resident Ann Larsen