Town of St. Albans, VT

ST ALBANS TOWN-- St. Albans Town is considering a partnership with Swanton Village and Swanton Town on sewer and water treatment infrastructure.

If the two municipalities collaborated with American Rescue Plan Act funds, the hope is to facilitate economic growth along Route 207 between them.

Monday officials from the town and village met to begin discussion.

“Our north end growth center could very well lead into a very well done, concentrated south growth center for Swanton,” St. Albans Town Selectboard Chair Brendan Deso said during Monday’s meeting of the village trustees. “We know we’re going to need some water and sewer infrastructure in that area to facilitate the kind of growth we want to see.”

Deso and St. Albans Town Manager Carrie Johnson told village trustees their hope is to use the town’s ARPA allocation of roughly $2 million to help construct water and sewer infrastructure.

The proposed partnership comes as municipal leaders work toward another large development, the planned expansion at the Franklin County State Airport. Deso and Village Trustees President Neal Speer said they hope the airport expansion and the infrastructure work could help make Franklin County an industrial hub.

While no specific proposal was put forward during Monday’s meeting, village trustees expressed support for Beliveau to work with St. Albans Town on a potential project.

“The more we talk about growth, the better it is for the county,” said Swanton Village Trustee Adam Paxman.

Improving service

The Town uses water and sewer infrastructure from St. Albans City, with any new business or development in the town having to pay an affiliation fee in addition to regular sewer fees, according to the St. Albans City ordinances.

Deso said this results in fees in the “tens of thousands of dollars” for businesses like Peerless Clothing in the Franklin County Industrial Park.

“We’re still seeing this growth even with that fee because our tax rate is so low, but it won’t be like that forever,” Deso said, noting that the town is “not exactly totally OK with the parameters around” their current water service.

Village Manager Reg Beliveau said the village had contemplated extending service before, with previous estimates putting the cost at $7 million to run water from the reservoir. However, he noted that further funding could come via efforts from the state’s congressional delegation, or from the $3 trillion infrastructure bill that recently passed in Washington.

“With the ARPA funds — and we’ve not seen what the next round is going to be either — there could be some possibility for some upgrades,” he said.

Speer said the village could consult Aldrich + Elliott, an engineering firm out of Essex, regarding potential water and sewer expansion to the north end of St. Albans Town.

“They know our sewer and water better than anyone,” he said.

Airport expansion

Highgate voters will be hitting the polls Sept. 14 to vote on a bond as part of an airport expansion project at the Franklin County State Airport, which could allocate $3.5 million toward extending the water and sewer lines from the Missisquoi Valley Unified High School to the airport.

The Airport operates using a septic system and well water according to a report published to the website for the Town of Highgate, but Belliveau said the original construction of the sewer line was done with the option of one day extending it.

“It’s going to be huge. A once in a lifetime opportunity,” Deso said, noting that plans for further growth will be needed for when the airport fills up.

The airport expansion project is slated to begin in 2023 and would extend the airport runway to make room for cargo and freight aircraft, Airport Manager Cliff Coy said in February.

By Kate Barcellos at the St. Albans Messenger.  Link to the original article here.