Officials to review Energy Impact Grant requests

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— Routt County and the towns of Oak Creek and Hayden are looking to the state for some cash to fund needed water and sewer projects.

Their requests amount to almost $1 million. But before the state reviews their wish lists, a review board must decide which requests are most deserving of state aid and prioritize the projects.

Oak Creek, Hayden and county officials will make their pitches today to the review board comprised of the Board of County Commissioners, representatives of local mining companies and officials from towns in the county.

Municipalities and counties throughout Colorado submit requests three times a year for their share of the state's energy and mineral impact funds.

Routt County customarily prioritizes funding requests when there is more than one request.

The city of Steamboat Springs' $140,000 request to help purchase a Type I wildland urban interface fire engine was the county's sole appeal for energy impact funds during the last funding cycle.

Most of the projects that receive energy impact funds involve infrastructure and basic public facility improvements.

The Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program helps to offset the costs of direct impacts of energy and mineral development on communities and indirect needs related to such development.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs hands out the funds, which stem from the state severance tax on oil, gas, carbon dioxide, coal and metals and the state's share of royalties paid to the federal government for mining minerals and mineral fuels on federally owned land.

A nine-member state Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Advisory Committee recommends how much money each funding request merits.

The state's budget crisis has led the committee to make more conservative recommendations.

Oak Creek is asking for $300,000 to help automate its water treatment plant.

The entire project will cost about $1.5 million. Hayden is requesting $283,000 to replace aging water lines along Washington Avenue and First Street and extend a new water main through Dry Creek Park south of the Routt County Fairgrounds.

Numerous water line breaks cost the town several thousands of dollars in repair costs last summer, Hayden Town Manager Rob Straebel said.

The county is seeking a $350,000 grant to extend water and sewer lines at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport for future development.

The prioritization hearing runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in the commissioners' hearing room.


-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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