More than $1.5 million has been awarded to Northwest Colorado communities in Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds, and both Craig and Moffat County received their share.
The city received $247,000 in grants for water system improvements, and Moffat County received $245,400 for capital projects.
"Providing funding for these local communities is essential," said Gov. Bill Owens. "I am pleased the state is able to assist Colorado communities in providing needed services to their residents."
Debra Murray, assistant to the Moffat County commissioners, said the county was a bit disappointed to receive only $245,000. Commissioners had hoped to get $300,000. The money is needed to help pay for capital projects because the assessed value for Moffat County properties will decrease dramatically in 2001, leaving the county short an estimated $410,000 in property tax revenue. The grant request included a list of capital projects that could not be completed because of the lack of money.
According to Murray, there is still hope that the county will receive an additional $55,000 in Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds. Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos is writing a letter to Bob Brooks, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Affairs, to try to get the additional funds. She expects to hear the verdict on her request soon.
The funds that the city of Craig received to improve its water system must be matched by the city dollar-for-dollar.
Joe Theaman, Craig's Water and Wastewater Department director, said he was thrilled to receive the money, which City Manager Jim Ferree had requested.
Theaman said the money will be used to enhance fire protection by raising the water volume in certain parts of the city.
"Our game plan is to beef up our volume to certain areas," Theaman said. "We're looking at more-reliable water service for customers."
Water infrastructure has to be constantly updated to keep service smooth; that's its nature, Theaman said.
"We're already doing the engineering in-house," Theaman said. "We want bids to go out early this spring, so they have time to complete the project."
The Steamboat Springs engineering firm Rothburg, Tamborini and Windsor did a survey of Craig and found certain areas where fire flow is not as high as others. The low flow will be corrected by adding new water mains and other critical structures to the water lines. The project shouldn't interrupt service.
"There won't be any prolonged outages as far as we are aware of at this time," Theaman said.
The Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance program helps communities by offsetting the impacts of energy and mineral development. The funds are administered by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and come from the state severance tax on oil, gas, carbon dioxide, coal and metals, and from the state's share of royalties paid to the federal government for the extraction of minerals and mineral fuels on federally-owned land.
The grants and low-interest loans were made during the fall funding cycle. A nine-member state Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Advisory Committee provides funding recommendations on all requests.