The City of Lander proudly announces the successful acquisition of a combined $44.9M in funding from the State Land Investment Board (SLIB) on February 1, 2024, through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Core Loan Program and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Core Loan Program. This will drive significant and needed water and sewer infrastructure enhancements over the next five years.
The awarded funding lays the foundation for an extensive series of infrastructure projects, such as complete water and sewer line replacements on critical thoroughfares such as 5th Street, Baldwin Creek Road, Buena Vista Drive, Cascade Street, Dillon Vista Subdivision, 1st Street, and McFarlane Drive. Additionally, sewer system improvements are scheduled for the Fremont Street area. Once the water and sewer infrastructure has been replaced with the newly awarded funds, the resurfacing of these roads will be complemented by 1% optional sales tax funds, totaling $5,077,500.
The City of Lander is keenly aware of the community's desire for improved road conditions. However, the City emphasizes the importance of addressing underlying infrastructure issues before asphalt is placed on the surface, ensuring a long-lasting and cost-effective solution. Leveraging these 1% optional sales tax funds represents a strategic and efficient approach to executing vital infrastructure improvements.
Two primary funding sources contribute to this transformative initiative. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund Core Loan Program has allocated $28,086,550.00 to the City of Lander for the replacement and repair of failing sewer lines. These funds will facilitate the replacement or relining of 12 miles of sewer mains. A portion of the funds will also be dedicated to acquiring essential equipment, including a sewer vac truck and two street sweepers. The City has accepted the award with a 16% principal forgiveness in the amount of $4,390,895. Principal forgiveness comes in the form of a grant and does not need to be repaid. There is a 0.25% interest rate on the remaining $23,695,655 over 20 years.
Simultaneously, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Core Program Loan has granted $16,876,869.00 to the City of Lander to address failed or failing waterlines, encompassing critical water transmission and distribution mains within roadways. In addition to repairing water mains, projects also include a full water meter replacement program. The award includes a 25% principal forgiveness in the amount of $4,219,217.25. Principal forgiveness comes in the form of a grant and does not need to be repaid. There is a 0.25% interest rate on the remaining $12,657,651.75 over 20 years.
Lance Hopkin, City of Lander Public Works Director, expresses his enthusiasm, stating, "This funding is a significant win for Lander. The town can anticipate substantial improvements over the next five years to begin rectifying our failing infrastructure. Charri Lara, our City Treasurer, deserves immense credit for her hard work in submitting these applications and steering Lander towards a promising future. House District 54 Representative Lloyd Larsen played a crucial role in advocating for Lander on the state stage, contributing to the successful securing of this funding."
Representative Lloyd Larsen, of House District 54, states, “I am extremely proud of the Lander City Government and the citizen’s of Lander for accepting responsibility to tax themselves with a 1% optional sales tax, and pay appropriate water and sewer fees. This week, the State Loan and Investment Board approved a significant loan to the city at a very low interest rate with some principal forgiveness to fund the city’s water and sewer master plan. The loan comes from two different State Revolving Funds, one from the drinking water fund and one from the clean water fund, which were created to do just what the city has planned. But, the SLIB board has expectations that cities and towns step up to the plate and have “skin in the game” and Lander has done just that. The City and its citizens are a great example of the intention of this fund.”
Representative Lloyd Larsen also stated, “We have learned over the past two years as the state used one-time ARPA (America Rescue Plan Act) funding to help municipalities across the state to repair, replace, and expand water and sewer infrastructure that the need far exceeds the funds available. Many communities have not taken steps through planning, having appropriate user water and sewer fees, or savings to keep their infrastructure in a condition that is required.”
The City strategically saved their 1% optional sales tax funds in order to be able to take on a series of projects such as this rather than just doing one project, which is more cost effective. The engineering process started several years ago, which was looked at very favorably by SLIB representatives and helped garner their support. During the infrastructure improvements over the next five years, the City of Lander will begin the engineering process for future projects so that infrastructure improvements can be made for years to come, and continue to repeat the process.
City of Lander Mayor Monte Richardson states, “Lander had a monumental victory with this funding award. Being able to improve critical infrastructure with a very low interest rate will be of great benefit to the City of Lander. We look forward to starting these major infrastructure projects in our community.”
In an additional community announcement, Lincoln Street's infrastructure will undergo replacement, and the road and utilities will be replaced in 2024-2025 through an alternative funding source. The American Rescue Plan Act funds will cover some of the water and sewer infrastructure replacement costs; water rates will cover the deficit; and 1% optional sales tax funds will be used on the ADA enhancements, sidewalk, curb, gutter, drainage, and road surface.