The South Routt Library District has been recommended for a $300,000 Energy Impact Grant that would help pay for a new library in Oak Creek, but a final decision won't be made for several weeks.
The board presented plans for the new library to the state of Colorado's Energy and Mineral Impact Assistant Advising Committee in Cripple Creek on July 20 in hopes of receiving the grant. The committee voted 7-0 to recommend full funding for the project.
Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak sits on the board but didn't vote.
"When you walk out of there you get an idea of what the kind of support you have," said Dina Murray, project coordinator for the new Oak Creek Library.
Forty organizations from all around Colorado made presentations in Cripple Creek in hopes of receiving some funding. Overall, $11.5 million was asked for, but $7.5 million is available.
The committee votes on who needs the funding most. Committee members can vote no funding, low funding, high funding or full funding.
"It's ultimately up to the executive director of the Department of Local Affairs to make the final decision," Hayden Town Manager Rob Straebel said.
Hayden also applied for a $300,000 grant for a public works building. It received a 6-1 vote for full funding.
"We were glad to hear that. We don't won't to be in competition," Murray said of Hayden's recommendation.
The energy impact grants are set up through the Department of Local Affairs. Companies that take resources out of the ground must contribute to a fund, which goes back to communities affected by the industry.
South Routt and Hayden can benefit from the fund because of the coal mining in Routt County.
Any grant money that the library district receives will subtract from the $1.5 million bond it would take to build the new building. Voters will decide on the bond issue in November.
For an average south Routt property owner with a $100,000 house, the bond issue would cost $22.78 annually for 20 years. The district also needs a $50,800 mill levy increase to cover the cost of operations. That would increase property taxes $7.55 a year for property owners.
If the full $300,000 is received, the project would cost taxpayers $1.2 million, lowering monthly payments or shortening the time the payments would need to be made, Murray said.
That's dependent on when the district is informed about the grant amount.
Monday night, the South Routt Library Board passed a motion to approach the Routt County commissioners to get the bond issue and mill levy increase on the ballot.
Group members have until Sept. 8 to write the ballot questions.
If they hear about the funding before the due date, board members will write the bond question with the lower cost of the project included, lowering the annual bond payment.
If they don't know how much the grant is at that time, the money will go straight into paying back the loan when it is received, shortening the number of payments, Murray said.
"But there's nothing that indicates that we are definitely getting the $300,000," she said.
However, Murray said she feels optimistic about the district's chances.
Murray has sent two other grant applications out, each for $50,000, to help with construction costs. One was to the Boetcher Foundation and other was to the Bacon Family Foundation; both are in Denver.
Murray isn't sure when she will hear from those organizations.
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