Kremmling officials optimistic about getting $2 million in stimulus funds
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado
Persistence may turn out to be the key that unlocks $2 million in federal stimulus money for the Town of Kremmling.
Town officials will find out on Friday whether their efforts will be rewarded, Town Manager Ted Soltis told the Town Council on Monday night.
“We’re looking good for getting approved here,” he said.
Kremmling is ranked 10th in a May 21 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “Fundable List,” which is a dramatic about-face from about six weeks ago, when Soltis was pessimistic about the town’s chances for getting any stimulus money.
The town hopes to use the money to replace leaky water lines that are spraying in excess of half the town’s treated water into the ground. In addition, the leaks are causing the water-treatment plant to operate at more than 100 percent capacity, which will accelerate the time frame in which the plant will need to be replaced, Soltis said.
Last year, the town began replacing the aged steel lines with the assistance of a Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant and a local match. The town was awarded another DOLA grant this year for the second phase of the water line replacement project, though it received only half of its request.
Because of that, town officials are contemplating leaving some streets unpaved during the coming winter so the town can replace about 10,000 feet of the most degraded water lines this summer.
Kremmling officials were planning to seek another DOLA grant next year with $500,000 in matching town funds to complete the water-line replacement.
The $2 million stimulus “loan” would make that unnecessary, Soltis said, and save the local match. While the money is listed officially as a loan, not a grant, it carries a 0.0 percent interest rate with “principal forgiveness” of $2 million.
In other words, the town would not have to pay back any of the money.
“So this is a savings of $500,000,” he told council members.
The town would receive the federal money at the end of November, too late to begin work this year but allowing for a spring 2010 start.
Hanging in there
The application process has been extremely arduous, Soltis said. So much so, it may have much to do with what appears to be Kremmling’s impending success.
At the outset of the process, Colorado had about $32 million available for such projects with initial requests in the neighborhood of $1.3 billion, Soltis said, adding that such odds were daunting at best with nearly 100 projects in front of Kremmling’s.
However, multiple application deadlines and requirements dramatically winnowed the field of applicants, particularly when engineering requirements meant substantial expenses.
When the total for applications approached the $100 million mark, “I began to feel better about our chances,” Soltis said.
Nevertheless, he said the process has been intense. Soltis initially thought the announcements would be made last Friday only to be presented with a request for more exhaustive information about town personnel and administration ” and another deadline.
“If I get another deadline, I’m going to die,” he told council members.
Mayor Tom Clark and other council members applauded Soltis for his perseverance and a “job well done” during the process.
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Starting with snow Sunday evening, the inches are predicted to stack up in Grand County through Wednesday.