Riverhead giving back $2.5M in Calverton sewer grants

Riverhead Town is giving back $2.5 million in state grants for the reconstruction and improvement of the Calverton sewer district, saying the grants don’t cover enough of the project costs and would create too great a tax burden on businesses in the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
The town had been approved for $2.5 million in grants from the Peconic Estuary Program to upgrade the old Grumman sewer plant, but the total cost of the project is estimated at $6.5 million, which means the remaining $4 million would have to be paid by the businesses within the Calverton Sewer District, which already pay extremely high sewer taxes.
“We have to give $2.5 million back to the state because it’s going to cost over $6 million to do the upgrade,” said Councilman John Dunleavy. “We have only 15 customers in the Calverton Sewer District. It’s going to put them out of business with trying to collect $4 million from them. So it’s better for us to give back the money to the state than have the state take the money back from us.”
Town officials say the bonded indebtedness on a $4 million borrowing would lead to a 1,300-percent increase in the Calverton Sewer District tax. In addition, the current flow rate of 20,000 gallons per day in the Calverton Sewer District is well below the 150,000 gallons per day the upgrade would be designed for, according to the town.
The Town Board on Tuesday voted to reapply for the $2.5 million when
additional grants or financing for the project becomes available.

[email protected]

Looking to comment on this article? Send us a letter to the editor instead.