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Babylon getting $14.7 million for Wyandanch sewers

The town of Babylon has been approved for $14.7 million in low-interest financing to help build a sewer line in downtown Wyandanch, a sewer line officials consider an essential part of a planned $500-million redevelopment in beleaguered Wyandanch, which has seen a steady rise in crime and a loss of businesses and families in the last few decades.

The money comes from the federal government via the state's Environmental Facilities Corp., which provides low-cost funding for water and sewer infrastructure projects. Half of the loan comes without interest, the other half carrying a rate of 0.69 percent, said town spokesman Tim Ruggeri. It begins as a three-year short-term loan, he said, and then rolls into a long-term loan at a "reduced interest rate to be determined." It is a 30-year loan.

"This EFC funding makes it possible for the town to invest in sewer infrastructure in the Wyandanch downtown, which in turn will make revitalization possible," said town Supervisor Steve Bellone.

The entire sewer line is estimated to cost $18 million. It would consist of two parts: one running to the downtown and another to the town's ashfill. The town has said that the latter part, paid for with $3 million from the garbage district fund, will save the town $500,000 a year.

The town previously approved bonding of $15 million to secure the funding, but Bellone said those bonds would not go to market. Instead, he said the EFC money would be repaid at first through funds allotted in the town's annual budget and then through the economic benefits reaped from development. "This is an investment that will ultimately pay for itself," he said.

Bellone said the EFC funding illustrates how layers of government partner for revitalization. Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy have been pushing the Wyandanch project forward, he said. The town said Sweeney just secured another $300,000 in state capital funds.

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