Hayden waits for water plant funds | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden waits for water plant funds

Danie Harrelson

— After moving quickly to meet a state agency’s deadline on a report detailing why the town’s water plant needs a loan to make necessary improvements, town officials might feel like they’ve been told to “hurry up and wait.”

The state committee that would have reviewed the report at its October meeting has told the town it will postpone its review until December, Town Manager Rob Straebel said.

“It basically shows that with improvements, we would be in compliance with the Safe Water Drinking Act in the future,” he said.

On Aug. 29, the town applied for a $1 million loan from the Colorado Water Resource and Power Development Authority, which has 30 days to review Hayden’s request before sending it to the state public health department.

Straebel explained the town was told its application would be reviewed in October if the report were turned in by late August.

“We were told that if we handed it in in time, it would get placed on the agenda for October,” Straebel said. “We really rushed to get it in.”

The state committee said it did not have sufficient time to review the loan application or visit the water plant to note that improvements were indeed needed, he said.

Now the town must wait until the committee meets again in December for approval of the loan.

Town officials were hoping to get the committee’s approval on the loan before it asked for a $300,000 grant from the state’s Energy Impact Board.

Their Oct. 19 presentation in Leadville to the board is necessary to receive energy impact funds for improvements to the water plant.

The town will be notified in November if the grant has been approved.

“It would have helped to have gone into the presentation and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a $1 million loan. Now we’re asking for an extra $300,000,'” Straebel said.

Hayden’s 25-year-old water plant requires some serious upgrades, a costly project the town is hoping the state will help finance.

In late June, a local grant committee, which includes Routt County commissioners and representatives from area towns and two county coal mines, named the project as the most important in the county.

A consulting firm earlier reported that improvements needed over the next 10 years could cost the town at least $2.3 million.

At least $1.4 million is needed by next year for upgrades to the plant’s chlorine process and a high-service pumping station to increase capacity.

The town intends to use $900,000 of the $1 million loan to pay for most of the $1.4 million improvement bill.

Another $300,000 would come from Energy Impact funds, in addition to $200,000 budgeted by the town.

Quality was not sacrificed in trying to generate the report quickly, Straebel said, but had he and others known extra time was available, more might have been added to the report.

Town officials are still optimistic about getting the money.

“I don’t think it will jeopardize our chance at getting the funding,” Straebel said.

“I’m confident the town of Hayden can show that the water-treatment plant deserves the money.”

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