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County commissioners approved an application submission to the Maryland Department of the Environment to proceed with a loan settlement to finance Calvert’s portion of the Enhanced Nutrient Removal upgrade to the Chesapeake Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant on Tuesday.

Julie Paluda, capital projects analyst with the Calvert County Department of Finance and Budget, said the county is partnering with Chesapeake Beach, which is the project lead, North Beach and Anne Arundel County to replace equipment and upgrade the Chesapeake Beach plant, “which has reached the end of its useful life.” She said concurrently with the upgrade the plant will be modified for enhanced nutrient removal from biological nutrient removal.

Paluda said the county will not participate in the expansion of the plant, as the county has the capacity to serve its current and future customers.

The ENR program is a state-mandated program to upgrade wastewater treatment plants in the “six bay states,” including Maryland and Washington, D.C., to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous discharges into the Chesapeake Bay.

Through the state, the county is planning to issue Maryland Water Quality bonds for $2.5 million to finance the county’s portion, which is 21.81 percent of the project, Paluda said. She said staff plans to pay the principal and interest payment on the bonds from usage revenues collected from sewer customers on the county’s systems. The bonds have a 20-year payback period, she said, with a March 2013 interest rate of .9 percent.

Paluda said MDE officials told her “the hold-up” with Chesapeake Beach is that the state is requiring the town to increase its current water and sewer rates to support the existing and new debt, and town council has not reached consensus on what the new rate structure should be.

The county does not want to settle on the loan and begin incurring debt earlier than necessary, Paluda said, so she recommended the board approve the application for submission. She also recommended holding the record open until June 24 to confirm the Board of Public Works’ approval on the ENR grant and to ensure Chesapeake Beach has formalized its contribution to the project. After June 24, the staff will come back to the board to seek approval of the resolution, she said.

In other news, the commissioners:

• Approved the issuance of up to $33 million in general obligation bonds. Paluda said bonds in the amount not to exceed $6.6 million will be issued to pay for equipment, construction and design costs related to several capital projects that are a part of the approved fiscal 2013 budget.

Director of finance and budget Tim Hayden said in addition to the $6.6 million of new money, the bond issuance includes the potential to issue up to $26.5 million in refunding debt, which is used “strictly to pay off prior debt issuances and does not add to the county’s outstanding debt”;

• Proclaimed May as Calvert County Older Americans Month; and

• In a 3-2 vote, with Commissioner Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R) and Commissioners’ Vice President Steve Weems (R) opposed, appointed Alan Jones and Gary Armstrong to the Dunkirk Architectural Review Committee.