Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality met on Wednesday, Jan. 22, to discuss the 21 applications submitted in request of funding from the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program. The program funds projects that are particularly relevant to the improvement of water quality regarding water bodies within Suffolk County.
The committee did not make any decisions on which applications would be funded, as this meeting focused more on the introduction of projects and discussing them as a group, preferably with a representative of the applicant present. A subsequent meeting was scheduled for Feb. 13, at 2 p.m., in order to make selections.
The total allocated funds for the program are not cemented, but there is a cap of $1.5 million.
“The budget recommended that we not approve projects any more than between $1 million and $1.5 million,” said Andrew Freleng, the council’s chief planner.
Applications were submitted by the county Department of Public Works, county Parks Department, Department of Health Services, a public library, environmental groups, and several towns and villages across Suffolk County.
One of two notable parameters of applications, aside from its direct impact on water quality, mandates that the funds provided must be used in full by the end of the 2020 calendar year. Trudging through the applications one by one, multiple project descriptions entailed that funds would not be exhausted by the cutoff.
Another notable parameter was that an application must request a minimum of $50,000. One of the 21 projects did not meet this requirement and was omitted from consideration.
The committee discussed categorizing the applications by project type in order to allocate funds to the various uses, including stormwater mitigation and pollution limiting, sanitation and septic upgrades, invasives removal, and other improvements involving water quality.
Although multiple applications have been weeded out, the cap of $1.5 million will not allow for the funding of all the remaining submissions. The applicants await decision by CEQ on Feb. 13, on whether their application(s) will be selected.