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Grant applications could halve cost of water projects

| May 22, 2012 1:38 PM

Improvements to the city’s water-distribution system seem ominous when considering the $12.2 million price tag, but accoring to the engineer overseeing these preliminary phases, the city could end up paying just more than half of that cost.

During the Libby City Council meeting on Monday, Ryan Jones, an engineer with Morrison Mairele in Kalispell, apprised the board of the grant-application process to which he was applying on behalf of the city.

Jones said he is applying to the Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP), the Department of Natural Resources and, soon, will apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that will greatly reduce the city’s cost for the dam. And, he said, there are other funding mechanisms that can be applied for in the coming year..

“We are still trying to get the 45-55 (percent funding) split,” Jones said.

“That’s our funding strategy,” he said. 

For example, on reconstruction of the Flower Creek Dam Project, Jones aid if funding comes through, the split would be about $3.2 million in grant funding and $3.9 million in city loans.

“There are no guarantees, but we do feel confident in our funding approach,” Jones said.

Jones also said the interest rate on the loans would be at a reduced rate.

“You’re looking at a 3 percent loan for 40 years on that $3.9 million,” Jones said. “That’s pretty good.”

The city also is looking at improving its water-distribution system, and funding for that $4 million project also could receive grant money.

Jones said the city is looking about $1.85 million in grants and an additional loan of about $2.2 million.

That project, he said, would replace about 2,900 linear feet of main and include 1,600 linear feet that would loop dead-end water lines, which would improve water pressure.

The funding proposal also includes increasing the number of pressure-reduction valves to five citywide that would further lessen pressure in lower areas while improving water pressure at higher elevations.