Water funds closer to reality

Hayden officials hopeful for financial help for plant

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— Hayden town officials received a state committee's blessing Oct. 19 for their request of Energy Impact funds for improvements to their water plant.

Now they must hope that blessing helps them clear one more hurdle to guarantee the funding.

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

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she expects Hayden will hear a positive response to their grant request in about two weeks.

"The Hayden project has a pretty good chance of receiving funding," she said. "The fund is healthy."

Stahoviak, who sits on

the State Advisory Committee

for the Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Program, could not cast her vote last Friday because of her ties to Hayden, which sits in the county she represents.

The committee unanimously approved Hayden's request for the $300,000 grant.

Their recommendation now passes to Bob Brooks, director of the Department of Local Affairs, and his staff for review.

"They will be going over the projects and recommendations while everything is still fresh," Stahoviak said.

Hayden Town Manager Rob Straebel, Mayor Chuck Grobe and Town Trustee Richard "Festus" Hagins traveled to Leadville to make the presentation.

They were impressed with the committee's swift response to their presentation.

"I was surprised at how quickly it went," Hagins said. "They voted on it, and we were out of there.

"Needless to say, we were rather happy when we left."

The committee did not press the trio with too many questions, Straebel said.

He said the board wanted to know if current user fees would pay for the annual pay on the new loan and if the Excel Corp., which runs the Hayden Power Plant, would help with funding any of the improvements to the water plant.

"It went so smoothly that we were in and out of there in five or six minutes," Straebel said. "The committee was extremely supportive."

Straebel said the town owed a great deal of thanks to its county commissioners.

Although Stahoviak could not cast her vote, he said, she offered some valuable insight as to why the Hayden water plant needed the grant for improvements.

"She did say some strong words that the town did deserve these funds," he said.

Straebel also commended Commissioner Dan Ellison, a former Hayden town manager, for coming to Leadville to demonstrate his support for the town's request to the committee.

"He made a special trip down there," Straebel said. "It was just above and beyond what he had to do. The county deserves our sincere appreciation."

The town is also waiting to hear back on its application for a

$1 million loan from the Colorado Water Resource and Power Development Authority.

The state committee that would approve or reject the loan does not meet again until December.

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 Impacts funds, in addition to $200,000 budgeted by the town.

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