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    ‘A great win for the city’: Lander electeds commend staff for securing $45M in low-interest infrastructure loans

    Members of the Lander City Council commended municipal staff this week for securing almost $45 million in funding from the state for water and sewer infrastructure enhancements.

    “It’s a deeply exciting time,” Councilmember Julia Stuble said during a regular meeting Tuesday, thanking “our really talented staff” for their efforts. “We followed your lead on that, with your really keen analysis. … I was proud to be part of the council that could vote for that.”

    First in the state

    Lander is the first municipality in the state to apply for this kind of “large loan package” or “series of loans” from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund core loan programs, city treasurer Charri Lara said during this week’s meeting.

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    The strategy resulted in a lower interest rate on the loan – .25 percent as opposed to 1.5 percent – saving the city about $5 million, Lara said.

    “We are never going to get money cheaper than (that),” she said. “(That) is well below what the federal government is charging.”

    The $45 million loan package won’t be distributed in one lump sum, Lara noted – instead, it will come in on a project-by-project basis.

    “It’s not one loan for $45 million,” she explained. “As we do a project, it will close off one loan, (then) we’ll add one or two loans.”

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    There aren’t any time limits on the loan either, she added, so “if we can only afford to do one project a year instead of two or three … we’re not limited to the number of years that we can do this.”

    ‘Jump-start us into the future’

    The loan funding will be used to complete “an extensive series of infrastructure projects” in Lander, including “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,” the city said in a press release earlier this month.

    “This is a great win for the City of Lander,” Mayor Monte Richardson said this week. “It can jump-start us into the future with our infrastructure projects. … I’m excited.”

    Once the infrastructure projects are complete, staff said the city will use 1 percent sales tax funding to resurface the impacted roads.

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    For more information, call the City of Lander at 332-2870.

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