Kremmling lands state grant to cover half the cost of $1 million water line project | SkyHiNews.com

Kremmling lands state grant to cover half the cost of $1 million water line project

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

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Kremmling got some very good news this week because its desperately needed water line project will receive a major grant from the state of Colorado.

At Tuesday’s town board meeting, Mayor Tom Clark announced that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) has approved a matching grant for the town’s nearly $1 million project. The grant will pay for 50 percent of it.

The project, which is scheduled to be done this year, will replace the main water transmission line from the town’s water plant three miles west of Kremmling to the town’s western edge. That line, which supplies all of the town’s water, is badly leaking and sections of it have failed in recent years.

Clark and Doug Moses, Kremmling’s Public Works director, made the presentation requesting the matching grant before the DOLA committee in Denver on Wednesday. The committee gave its unanimous approval.

In his remarks to the board, Clark said the DOLA committee had turned down other towns’ grant requests that day but recognized the importance of the project for Kremmling. He said the committee was also “impressed” that the town was able to pay for such a large portion of the project.

The successful grant application was prepared by Kremmling Town Manager Ted Soltis while Moses worked on the technical studies and helped with the presentation before the DOLA committee. At Tuesday’s meeting, Clark commended them both for their hard work.

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The total price tag for the main transmission line project this year is estimated to be about $957,000.

The town of Kremmling had set the replacement of the main water transmission line as a top priority project as part of its budget for 2008. The water line, which was installed in the early 1970s, has begun to fail in recent years due to heavy corrosion to its steel pipes.

This year’s project to replace the main transmission line is just the first stage of needed repairs to the town’s water system. Moses estimates that 24,000 feet of steel water pipe, which is 30 percent of the Kremmling’s in-town water system, has corroded to the point that it must be replaced in the next few years. These steel pipes were installed in the late 1940s and early 50s.

The need to replace large portions of the town’s water lines is not only due to fear of the collapse of the system, but also to its continuing financial drain on the town.

Moses estimates that nearly 70 percent of the water treated by Kremmling’s water plant is lost to leaky pipes along the main transmission line or to the in-town steel pipe system.

The town of Kremmling plans to replace of all these leaking water lines during the next five years.

Clark told the town board that he raised the issue of future requests for matching grants for more water line projects with the DOLA committee and said he received a positive response.

Commenting after the meeting, Soltis said the approval of the DOLA grant is a major achievement for the town.

“With this DOLA matching grant, we essentially have a nearly million-dollar project that will cost the town less than $500,000 with no debt nor rate increases,” he said. “If we had borrowed the money, even at low interest rates, that million-dollar project would have cost significantly more over the repayment of the loan.”

Soltis described the approval of the DOLA grant as “the first step” in solving the town’s water system problems.

“Since our water rates and debt per resident are already some of the highest in the state, I felt increasing the burden on our families was a last resort,” he said. “My goal was and is to find a way to fund the next five years of water-line improvements without increasing taxes, rates or debt.”

To do this, Soltis said he plans to “seek out appropriate grants” for the rest of the water line projects.

“It’s an ambitious goal, but a worthy one,” he said.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting:

– The board approved a special events liquor license for the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet at the CSU Extension Hall on Saturday, March 29. Approval was also given for the liquor license renewal for the Our Family Kitchen restaurant.

– The board also listened to a request by Bonnie Koblitz to start a “community garden” on town property. Space in the garden would be rented out to residents to grow vegetables. Moses suggested that some town land may be available adjacent to the cemetery.

– The board also said farewell to two of its trustees who are retiring after the April 1 municipal election. Jim Sloan has served on the board for the past 18 years, while Bonnie Colburn was on it for 11 years.

– The “Meet the Candidates” forum will be held Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. in the Cathy Shipley Room of the new West Grand PK-8 School Building. It is an opportunity for the public to meet the four candidates running for the three trustee positions that are up for election on April 1.

– Also at Tuesday’s meeting, it was announced that the Communities That Care program, which works to help children and their families overcome alcohol, drug and other problems, is ending its operation in Kremmling. A farewell party will be held for it on Thursday, March 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., also in the Cathy Shipley Room.

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