Advisory board OKs grants for county

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All three of Routt County's requests for Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grants were unanimously recommended for approval by a state advisory committee Thursday afternoon.

The committee also recommended approval of a $1.2 million request from Moffat County that was the largest request in the state, Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

The applications now go to the Department of Local Affairs, where Executive Director Mike Beasley will make final decisions on the requests in the next few weeks.

The committee heard requests for 50 projects, including an water treatment facility in Oak Creek, a water main replacement in Hayden, a water and sewer system for Yampa Valley Regional Airport and a recreation center in Craig.

Sullivan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the airport project, said that part of the committee's recommendation of full funding for the projects probably was based on the significant impacts of mineral and energy uses in Routt and Moffat counties.

"Because of the enormous amount of mine impacts and energy impacts. ... I think (committee members) were really looking to fund the programs," Sullivan said.

Routt County's first-priority project involves replacing about 3,000 feet of the water main in Hayden, installing six new fire hydrants and extending the water main south of the Routt County Fairgrounds. The old water mains had five breaks in 2002, which cost more than $18,000 to repair.

Hayden requested $283,000 for the project, which will cost about $405,000. The remaining funding will come from the town.

Town Manager Rob Straebel, Mayor Chuck Grobe and Mayor Pro Tempore Chencho Salazar represented Hayden at the hearing.

"Certainly our grant was well received," Straebel said. "The town of Hayden certainly can show its extensive involvement in energy-related services, such as coal mining and energy production. Also, we offer municipal services to employees of the coal mines, such a police protection and snow plowing. Routt County produces 25 percent of all coal in Colorado, so it is certainly a big part of the local economy."

The second most important project for Routt County was for Oak Creek's outdated water treatment facility. The project should cost about $1.5 million, and the town sought $300,000 from the energy impact grants.

Oak Creek Mayor Cargo Rodeman said the old plant wasted about one-third of the treated water and that the new system should save at least $58,000 a year from chemical and operator expenses.

The town will pay about $981,000 of the project using a loan from the Colorado Drinking Water Revolving Fund and about $250,000 with the town's 2003 capital improvement funds.

If the grant is awarded, bids for the project will be awarded in the middle of August, Rodeman said, and the town hopes to break ground on the project during August.

The county's third request was for $350,000 to construct water and sewer lines at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport to meet fire code and building requirements for hangar and commercial developments. The project's total cost is estimated at $720,000.

Moffat County's request was for construction of a 52,000-square-foot recreation facility that could cost a total of $11.7 million. If voters approve a city tax increase, which will be proposed on the November ballot, the city could contribute about $9.75 million.

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