Polson misses out on grant for sewer project

by Matt Baldwin
Daily Inter Lake | March 12, 2020 9:29 AM

Polson won’t receive a big grant it was hoping to secure for an upcoming wastewater project.

The project to replace aging and failing sewer lines is expected to cost about $1.8 million. The city was aiming for a $750,000 grant through the Treasure State Endowment Program, but that funding didn’t come through, city Finance Officer Cindy Dooley told the City Commission on March 2.

“The city was literally in a footrace to receive that money,” Dooley said. “Unfortunately, we were notified on Feb. 21 that we did not receive any TSEP funding.”

She said Polson is “next in line” to receive funding if another project drops out.

“These other projects may be secured and shovel-ready, but in the event one of them did drop out we would probably get some TSEP funding,” she said.

Polson has already secured $125,000 through a Montana Renewable Resource Grant. The city also plans to seek State Revolving Loan funding of $800,000 at a rate of 2.5%, according to Dooley. There is a possibility of loan forgiveness of $212,500 at completion of the project for a net loan amount of $587,500. Additional funding will be provided by the Sewer Fund reserves in the amount of $145,500.

Dooley said the city could opt to put more toward the project in the next budget cycle.

The project will likely be split into phases and the city will do what it can with the funding available, Dooley said. A preliminary design report on the project is expected to be finished this month, with a detailed design ready by summer.

The second phase of a rate increase required by the TSEP grant to fund upgrades to the city’s treatment facility will go into effect this summer. Customers can expect to see about a $9 per month increase on their bills starting in July.