The Saratoga Sun -

BOCCC, Town of Saratoga approve resolutions

Saratoga Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board given approval to apply for WBC grant to extend water and sewer services

 

February 26, 2020



The Saratoga Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (SCCIJPB) has cleared all initial hurdles in applying for a loan and grant program from the Wyoming Business Council (WBC). As was reported previously (see “Tapping into town services” on page 3 of the December 18, 2019 Saratoga Sun), Platte Valley Healthcare Project (PVHP) Chairman Will Faust had approached the joint powers board about sponsoring the non-profit group for funding from the WBC.

Following a public hearing before their regularly scheduled meeting on February 12, the SCCIJPB voted unanimously to submit a Community Readiness Project grant application to the WBC as part of the Business Ready Community Grant and Loan Program. 

On February 18, members of the SCCIJPB and PVHP appeared before both the Board of Carbon County Commissioners and the Saratoga Town Council. As a joint powers board between the Town of Saratoga and Carbon County, a resolution from both governing bodies was required before applying for the grant.

Craig Kopasz, representing Engineering Associates, informed the BOCCC that while the water and sewer extension does go to the proposed location for the North Platte Valley Medical Center, it is viewed by the joint powers board as an infrastructure project. Kopasz also referenced the Town of Saratoga’s 2016 master plan calling for southward expansion for commercial growth.

Faust, who served on the Saratoga Town Council when the master plan was released, cited the relocation of the Brush Creek/Hayden District office to Saratoga in 1994 as a roadblock to development over the last 26 years as the United States Forest Service (USFS) had made the decision not to connect to municipal utilities at that time. 

He added that the PVHP was wanting to “leverage some of our development dollars to try to do this right for the community.”

“It opens up tremendous amounts of property and ground that can be expanded in the future. We’ve made sure that we’re doing it the right way. Right-sizing the utilities for any sort of future expansion and we see this as a really great opportunity to partner with the water and sewer joint powers board to get past that wall that was put up 30-something years ago and do the right the thing for the first time in,  maybe, a long time,” said Faust.

SCCIJPB Chairman Richard Raymer added that the expansion of the water and sewer services to the south of Saratoga would be beneficial to the USFS, who just recently tied into town utilities.

“This gives them the opportunity to tie into a bigger sized system as they start to develop within their property, which they are. They built a bunkhouse, they’ve got shops tied in, so they’re already growing their piece of property,” said Raymer. “So, this will benefit them as well and what it does is it ties in a loop system on our water lines to where it’s not just going to run out to a dead end and, if one line were to fail, there is a secondary line for supply.”

In resolutions presented to both the BOCCC and Saratoga Town Council, the grant application is not to exceed $1.2 million. The matching amount from the SCCIJPB will be provided by donations from the Gretchen Swanson Family Foundation in the amount of $200,000. Should the project exceed the amounts presented in the resolutions, additional funding will be provided by the foundation. If the cost of the project is too excessive, it will be re-examined.

“We have an opportunity to help extend the town’s infrastructure and to be able to do it at no cost to us,” Raymer said to both the BOCC and Saratoga Town Council. “It’s kind of a win-win for everybody.”

Both the county commissioners and the Saratoga Town Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution presented to them. 

The next meeting of the Board of Carbon County Commissioners will be at 9 a.m. on March 3 at the County Courthouse in Rawlins.

The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on March 3 at Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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