Wednesday, June 07, 2023

City projects eyed for remainder of $8 million fund

| March 8, 2007 11:00 PM

By BRENT SHRUM Western News Editor

Any money left over from an $8 million economic development grant the city of Libby received in 2000 should be put toward infrastructure needs such extension of sewer service to Cabinet Heights and a proposed downtown streetscape project, the city council's budget and finance committee is recommending.

The city received the grant for economic development and infrastructure through a federal appropriation obtained by former Sen. Conrad Burns. An independent advisory group called the Libby Area Development Co. was set up by the city to make recommendations on the use of the fund.

Grants and loans were provided for projects including development of the Memorial Center and the senior center in Troy, improvements at Turner Mountain and the Lincoln County Campus of Flathead Valley Community College, and expansion of the golf course at Cabinet View Country Club. Loans were made to businesses including Montana Float Co., Libby Woodworks and Kootenai Paving.

The fund currently stands at around $700,000, although most of that money has been spoken for but not withdrawn. About $30,000 hasn't been committed, said Councilman Lee Bothman.

Some of the money that was loaned will return to the fund eventually. The largest loan was $1.5 million to Cabinet View Country Club. Repayment was tied to the sale of lots adjacent to the golf course. Development of those lots, which were recently annexed into the city, will depend in part on a project to extend sewer service to the area. The project is estimated at $2.5 to $3 million.

At Monday's council meeting, the budget and finance committee noted that project, along with the proposed streetscape project and the need to update and enlarge the sewer treatment plant, in making its recommendation for the use of the money remaining in or returning to the economic development fund. The money should be used in the form of loans and/or grants to the city to help fund such projects, the committee reported.

The council took no formal action on the committee's recommendation.