By Jann Wiswall

The Village of Ellicottville has been awarded a $1.3 million grant from the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to help offset the $5.3 million cost to build its new wastewater treatment plant, which is currently under construction. The award was announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

“This is absolutely great for the Village,” exclaimed Mayor Charles Coolidge. “It means there will be no increase in rates for our users and we will be able to considerably reduce our long-term debt.”

The new plant, which was required under a consent order by the state, provides municipal sewer service to customers in the town and village of Ellicottville and to WestMont Ridge customers, whose properties are located in Mansfield.

The New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015 was established as part of the 2015-2016 New York State Budget and provides $200 million in grants over three state fiscal years. Funding is administered by the EFC and the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation.

In addition to grants, EFC provides interest-free and low-interest loans to communities to further reduce the cost of infrastructure projects.

EFC had already approved the village’s application for an interest-free, 30-year loan for the $5.3 million project cost. With the new grant, the loan amount will now total just under $4 million.

And, Coolidge said, it may be possible to add back in some important components of the project that were eliminated for cost reasons.

“This, of course, would need board approval.”

Coolidge expressed thanks to State Senator Cathy Young, who sent a letter of support on Ellicottville’s behalf to the Governor’s office, as well as Village Engineer Mike Smith, bond consultant Jeff Smith, Village Clerk Mary Klahn and all of the others who had a part in applying for the grant.

“This is a major win for the village and our residents,” he said.

In addition to the Village of Ellicottville, the Cattaraugus County towns of Ashford and Carrolton, the villages of Cattaraugus and Little Valley, and the City of Olean all received EFC grants totaling more than $10 million for water and sewer infrastructure improvements.