Routt County plans to contribute $120K in pandemic relief for Stagecoach wastewater project |

Routt County plans to contribute $120K in pandemic relief for Stagecoach wastewater project

Routt County commissioners signaled on Monday, May 16, that the county would contribute pandemic relief dollars to the Morrison Creek Metropolitan Water and Sanitation District’s effort to replace a half-century old wastewater treatment plant.

The cost of the plant was estimated at $8 million in January with about $6.6 million of that being for construction. However, district General Manager Geovanny Romero told commissioners that most of the bids came in over $10 million.

“Except for one that was close to the construction budget at $7 million,” Romero said.

On Monday, Romero said he planned to accept that bid and sign a contract for the plant on Thursday, May 19, with construction starting in the coming weeks. The project is funded primarily by a grant and loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program.

The bid is expected to increase the cost by $120,000. Romero approached commissioners for support because asking the USDA for more money could have taken as long as three months, which is long enough for the current construction bid to expire.

“I think this seems pretty straightforward that we would support this,” Commissioner Beth Melton said.

Commissioners are expected to approve the funding at their meeting on Tuesday, May 24.

Routt County received about $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, and that money has to be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

Most of the money doesn’t have a planned expenditure yet, though commissioners have said the county will contribute part of it to replacing county-run wastewater treatment plants in Milner and Phippsburg and about $80,000 to Oak Creek for repairs at Sheriffs Reservoir.

The new Morrison Creek plant is primarily being funded by a $1.7 million grant and a $6.3 million loan from the USDA, Romero said. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has also contributed about $265,000 for preconstruction engineering.

The new plant will be able to handle about 350,000 gallons a day, compared to the 70,000 a day it processes now. Once it’s complete, Romero said, the new plant should be able to accommodate growth in the Stagecoach area for the foreseeable future.

Unlike the current plant, the new plant will have two channels to treat water. This would allow one to have maintenance done on it while the other continues to treat water.

To pay for the loans, the district conducted a rate study. This resulted in a rate spike of about 30%, Romero said.

“It was high, but part of that is that the rates were so low for a very long, long time and didn’t keep up with inflation,” Romero said. “We are preparing for huge growth here.”

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