Officials see December DOLA grant decisions

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Story at a glance

• Moffat County, the city of Craig and The Memorial Hospital applied for about $2.5 million worth of Colorado Department of Local Affairs grants in December 2007.

• The county and city applied for road project funding, which may become a primary concern for both governments in the near future.

• TMH received $1 million to help pay for foundation and utility costs at its construction site on the west side of Craig. Hospital officials said they do not plan to ask DOLA for more money in the future.

— Moffat County has a road problem.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs can help, said Linda DeRose, county Road and Bridge Department manager. But whether DOLA's help will allow the county to keep up with road maintenance across its roughly 3 million acres is a matter of faith.

"We can only hope that we can," DeRose said.

DOLA agreed to help this year by approving the county's grant request for $1.2 million to overlay six miles of Moffat County Road 7, northwest of Craig.

The county plans to provide another $340,000 in funds and in-kind services for the project, county Budget Analyst Tinneal Gerber said.

Gerber received the county's funding approval Monday from a request submitted for DOLA's Dec. 1 grant cycle.

The overlay is the first phase of a two-part project on C.R. 7, Gerber said. Next year, the county plans to ask DOLA for funds to finish the remaining stretch of road that needs an overlay, between six and eight miles.

Increased traffic and heavier truck traffic are the biggest reasons for county roads becoming less viable, DeRose said.

The county can do about one road project each year, Gerber said. It can only do road overlays during the summer and early fall, and the county's bidding process takes up a lot of that time.

"Actually, we're kind of behind on our overlays," DeRose said. "No money."

Because the county is behind, it is dealing with road projects as major issues come up, DeRose added. C.R. 7 fell into that trouble spot because of large dips and cracks.

The Memorial Hospital

The Memorial Hospital officials also requested $1 million with a $1.7 million match for site development projects for the new hospital building on the west side of Craig.

The money will go toward digging a space for the building's foundation and running dry utilities from the property's borders to the building site, said Samantha Johnston, TMH service excellence officer.

The hospital does not plan to seek any more DOLA funds, she added, but all plans at this point are contingent on a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The increased mill levy approved by voters in the November 2007 general election make up half the new hospital's projected costs.

TMH officials are seeking a loan from finance company Innovative Capital for the other half but are requesting HUD guarantee the loan.

"Future DOLA isn't factored into this plan," Johnston said. "Everything is still on track, but everything really hinges on final HUD approval."

The hospital's final application to HUD is due by the end of the month, Johnston said. TMH officials expect to hear whether it was approved or denied within 60 to 90 days from the time they submit the application.

The city of Craig

Dips and cracks aren't exclusive to roads outside Craig city limits.

City officials requested about $340,000 from DOLA to help overlay about two miles of First Street, from the Ranney Street intersection to Colorado Highway 13, said Randy Call, Road and Bridge and Refuse Department director.

The city will provide an equal match, he added.

Officials will not know if DOLA approved the city's grant request until City Manager Jim Ferree gets in from out of town on Thursday.

However, city engineer Bill Earley said the project did receive unanimous support from DOLA's recommendation board earlier in the grant cycle.

Call said the city has been able to stay on top of road projects, but rising fuel prices make everything harder.

"Oil is up, fuel is up, everything is up, and we pretty much have the same money," Call said. "I don't know how we'll be able to do. We'll have to do some creative budgeting to get by, probably."

The City Council has been a supporter of road projects, and it has funded pavement maintenance as fully as it could under the city budget, Call said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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