By Amanda Ensinger
There still is an opportunity for Franklin Township residents to get financial assistance to connect to a new sewer system thanks to a program by Franklin County.
The Franklin County Department of Sanitary Engineering will be accepting applications until Feb. 16 for financial assistance for the Mon-E-Bak and Broad Road East sewer connection project.
“Residents who live in the Mon-E-Bak neighborhood and Brown Road East must connect to the sewer system,” said Stephen Renner, director of sanitary engineering for the Franklin County Department of Sanitary Engineering.
“Both areas have been identified as having sever water quality issues by Franklin County Public Health. Septic tanks in these areas are leaking and polluting the streams and rivers.”
As a result, Renner said it is their duty to sewer the areas, therefore a new sewer system has been built for residents in the area. However, residents will have to pay to connect to the system.
According to Renner, it will cost Franklin Township residents between $9,000 and $12,000 to connect to the new system.
“Approximately 600 houses will be connecting to the system, however we anticipate nearly half the population in the project area to qualify for the financial assistance program,” Renner said. “That’s why it is so important for residents to apply. Right now, we only have received 41 applications.”
Residents who receive the financial aid assistance for the program will receive a zero percent interest loan.
“If you qualify, we will put a lean on the parcel and each year the lean will decrease by 10 percent,” Renner said. “By 10 years it goes away. It is like receiving a grant.”
If residents want to get an additional loan on their properties for home improvements or other projects, the lean on the property can take second position and the new loan can take the first position. However, Renner said if a homeowner sells their home, they or the new homeowner will need to pay back the loan.
“The remaining balance at the time of the sale would need to be paid for either the new or current owner,” Renner said. “However, past projects have showed us that connecting to the sewer system will increase their property value.”
Residents must meet certain income requirements to be eligible for assistance, as well as must be living in the home and be the owner of the property. The least a person can make a year to be eligible is $41,650 for a one person home and the most a person can make a year is $78,550 for an eight person home.
“Even if you are not sure if you are eligible, please apply,” Renner said. “If you are denied assistance, you can appeal the decision directly to me and we will take your appeal into consideration.”
Renner said residents who receive the financial assistance will go through a contractor the county picks out. Residents who are not eligible for assistance must hire their own contractor to connect to the system.
“Residents must connect by Dec. 20, 2019,” Renner said. “A list of those not connecting by this date will be sent to Franklin County Public Health and public health will be looking into it.”
Renner said besides seeing an increase in property value, residents also will reduce pollution in the area, decrease the public health issue and make the environment better by connected to the sewer system.
To apply for the financial assistance program or learn more about the project, visit https://cleanwater.franklincountyohio.gov/Project-Details/2017/Sewer-Rectification-Completion-Effort.