Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman gave a minute-long presentation about why Oak Creek desperately needed improvements to its water system in front of the state committee administering Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grants.
That one minute was long enough for the committee. Its members unanimously recommended the project receive the full $240,000 requested.
"It was a very important project, so I did sort of expect it," Rodeman said.
Oak Creek's request was one of five from towns and groups throughout the county that went before the state committee this week. Oak Creek's $407,000 project will replace and reroute 2,400 feet of water distribution line and will install five fire hydrants.
In a county-level prioritization in November, Oak Creek's request was ranked first, Steamboat Lake Water and Sanitation District was ranked second, a Hayden and a joint city-county request tied for third, and the city of Steamboat Springs ranked last.
The state committee's response to local applications did not track exactly with the county-level prioritizations.
The request from the Steamboat Lake Water and Sanitation District for a $70,000 grant and a $50,000 loan, which it would supplement with $63,000 from its own reserves, also was approved unanimously. The funds would help repair two sections of crushed sewer main and reroute water outfall to the Elk River.
The remaining three projects received a range of recommendations from state committee members, from no funding to partial funding, Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. In the next few weeks, the director of the Department of Local Affairs will make final decisions on this term's grant requests.
Stahoviak was disappointed by the response to a joint request from Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs for $159,000 to cover the startup costs for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, a countywide affordable housing group.
Three state committee members voted that the project receive no funding, while one recommended partial funding, and another recommended full funding.
Stahoviak said she felt the project request addressed the social and economic importance of the project and also the impact that energy and mineral development had on the community.
"I think the vote was unfortunate by the committee, and we'll just have to wait and see where it goes," she said.
During Hayden's request for $164,400 to use for a $235,000 project to install new radio-read water meters, there was discussion about doing a loan and grant combination. Hayden officials could not be reached for comment.
The final request was from the city of Steamboat Springs, which asked for $225,000 for a $285,000 improvement of the Public Safety Building, which houses offices of the police, fire and rescue crews.
Two members of the state committee recommended the project receive full funding, and three recommended it receive partial funding, Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said.
"We are cautiously optimistic that we will get some funding, which we desperately need to do the important renovations to the Public Safety Building," DuBord said.
The state received 68 applications requesting $15.8 million in this cycle, Stahoviak said. In a typical cycle, $5 million to $8 million is available, which makes this round very competitive, she said.
The state committee considers each request separately, paying attention to how requests are prioritized locally. It focuses on impacts on the area from energy and mineral development.
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