Community Septic Management Loan Program
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The Community Septic Management Loan Program (CSMLP), aimed at upgrading failed residential septic systems to Title 5 standards, was made possible by the enactment of the Open Space Bond Bill of 1996. This law appropriated $30 million to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to assist qualified homeowners in defraying the cost of complying with Title 5 regulations. In turn, MassDEP used this appropriation to fund loans through the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust (MWPAT).
For over a decade, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment administered this program on behalf of all fifteen Cape towns. As a way of streamlining the Program, Barnstable County secured special legislation in 2006 allowing CSMLP to borrow money directly from the MWPAT. In addition to relieving towns of the need to secure town meeting approval for borrowings, this meant towns no longer were required to bill and collect regular payments from homeowners or track loan repayments to the State Revolving Fund. Moreover, the passage of this legislation eliminated funding lapses that occurred when towns ran out of money prior to a town meeting vote. Presently, appropriation of funds by the Assembly of Delegates provides for the Program’s uninterrupted service to the citizens in Barnstable County for replacing their septic systems.
To date, CSMLP has provided $30 million in loans for septic system repairs. The interest rate charged to homeowners remains at 5% as does the 20-year repayment term. Further, the Program recently incorporated flexible payment plans (monthly or quarterly) after conducting a survey of borrower needs. Septic system repair projects including sewer hook-ups completed for FY2014 totaled 279. This translates into $3.1 million in project costs. Program funds from the state remain available into the foreseeable future, allowing CSMLP to continue providing an effective and efficient means of assisting area residents with often cost-prohibitive yet essential septic system requirements.
It is important to note that the CSMLP is self-supporting through interest earned from loan program enrollment, thus saving taxpayers all operation costs including staff salaries for the administrator and program assistants. Additional savings include all associated legal expenses such as title searches and recording fees at the Registry of Deeds. Interest money is also available to fund small commercial projects.
For information about the program please visit our website: www.barnstablecountysepticloan.org