BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Town Council voted to move forward this week on a $2.3 million project to extend town water and sewer lines further south along Route 102 with funding obtained through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Town officials said that while they still hope to finance some aspects of the project through other outside grants, the initial work must move forward before rising costs bring the price tag even higher. Councilors had initially earmarked $1.2 million for the extension last year, but recent estimates have nearly doubled.
“Obviously, it has ballooned to much more than we anticipated,” noted Councilor Justin Batalon. “The cost is only going to go up. It’s pay now or pay later. I think it’s worth the investment.”
“The cost is only going to go up,” agreed Town Manager Michael Wood. “We’re going to have to use our discretion as to timing.”
The project will extend both water and sewer lines 1,300 feet south from Danielle Drive to several lots in the town’s industrial park, with the 12-inch water main to continue further to Lapham Farm Road.
“This creates a loop which is beneficial to water quality and increased fire protection,” noted a memo from Public Works Director Jeffrey McCormick.
Deemed high priority in discussions of how to spend more than $5 million allocated to the town by the federal government for pandemic recovery in 2020, the project aims to enhance the value of lots within the park with the goal of attracting potential investors.
“It can help with economic development,” Wood said.
Councilor Dennis Anderson noted that the extension is last of the “high priority” APRA items to be acted on, and that the town can continue to apply for grants while moving forward.
“I’d love to find more money,” Anderson said.
The $2,305,220 includes roughly $978,000 for the water main loop; $630,000 for water system improvements; $345,000 for the sewer extension and $352,000 for roadway restoration.
In a second vote, councilors also allocated $50,000 in matching funds to continue build up of sewer infrastructure on Chapel Street with the hope that the project – decades in the works – will also at some point move forward. The town recently received a $250,000 Municipal Infrastructure Grant to connect lines across the Clear River, adding to initial work completed in the mid-1990s.
“It will not fully connect that area yet, but this grant money will provide a critical piece in the eventual plan to make a full connection,” explained Town Council President Don Fox. “That full connection may come some years from now, but this step is critical to that.”
It is yet another infrastructure improvement for which Burrilville officials continue to seek additional funding. When councilors last seriously considered the Chapel Street extension in 2020, the cost was estimated at $1.2 million to bring the sewer line to six unserved businesses and eight additional residential properties.
On the town’s current infrastructure priority list, “there’s a number of things ahead of it,” explained Anderson.
“It is really a question of finding the right funding source at the right time, against the back drop of all other CIP-related projects on the board in any given year,” Fox said.