Fremont County communities to receive $6.6M in ARPA money for infrastructure, assisted living projects

    Wyoming’s State Loan and Investment Board awarded $6.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to Fremont County communities during a meeting last week in Cheyenne.

    The majority of the money will go to the City of Lander for Lincoln Street utility improvements ($3 million) and Table Mountain Living Community construction ($2.64 million).

    Water, sewer

    The Lincoln Street grant will come out of Wyoming’s ARPA water and sewer program, which distributed its initial round of funding in 2022.


    This year, the Wyoming Legislature allocated an additional $30 million to the water and sewer program – which received more than $225 million in funding requests this round, state lands director Jenifer Scoggin said.

    “Unfortunately, it’s very oversubscribed,” she said during last week’s SLIB meeting. “Due to the limited funds available … 46 applications are not recommended for funding.”

    One of those denied applications came from the Town of Dubois, which had requested $1.9 million for Meckem Street water and storm sewer improvements.

    Without the ARPA grant, town clerk Sandy Hust said Dubois will have to “raise our rates astronomically … in order to do this project.”


    The base water rate in Dubois is currently about $30, she said.

    Secretary of State Chuck Gray suggested granting Dubois $600,000 for Meckem Street, but the majority on the board voted against that idea, with Auditor Kristi Racines noting that, while she is “very much supportive of the project,” the town has already received a “good loan” to support the work, at 48 percent forgiveness.

    “I understand they have to raise their rates, and that’s problematic for all Wyoming residents,” Racines said. “But their rates are lower than other areas in Fremont County, and so this is one I’m going to be a ‘no’ on.”



    Lander charges a base rate of $37 for water and $18 for sewer, and assistant mayor Rajean Strube Fossen said city staff “are suggesting a 7 percent raise in water this year and a 5 percent raise in sewer.”

    Wyoming Rep. Lloyd Larsen, R-Lander, urged SLIB to “contemplate what measures … these local utilities (have) taken to cover their ongoing costs up to this point” as grant awards are considered, commending Lander for its “effort to make sure that their water and sewer rates are appropriate.”

    “They’ve re-lined a significant number of the city’s sewer lines to date without additional funding,” Larsen said. “They’ve gone to their maximum debt on their infrastructure maintaining their repayment of that loan. …


    “I just really feel that they’ve been trying to take care of their own the best they can (and) really taking responsibility for their utility infrastructure in the community.”

    Partially funded

    Lander had requested $5.3 million for the Lincoln Street project, but Strube Fossen said they were “happy to accept” the lesser amount of $3 million that was awarded last week.

    She indicated that the city could use 1 percent optional sales tax money and enterprise funds to cover the difference.

    “What lesser funding will do is just put (off) some additional projects in the future,” she said.

    Lander had submitted a second application to the ARPA sewer and water program, requesting $3.3 million for a headworks structure at the municipal sewer lagoons, but that application was denied.

    State staffers also recommended denying funding for the City of Riverton, which had requested $666,000 for stormwater infrastructure replacement on Webbwood Road, but SLIB decided to award that project $381,400.

    SLIB approved a $581,220 grant request from the Town of Shoshoni for water storage tank improvements, repair and access as well.

    Mayor Joel Highsmith called the project “an important part of the puzzle for our water system.”

    “We have a water tank high up on a hill, (and) the road going up to it is in very poor condition,” he explained. “To maintain the structural stability of the tank, we need to put some riprap up there and take measures to prevent erosion, (and) we should fence it to help keep animals out of it.”

    Table Mountain

    The grant for the Table Mountain facility in Lander will come out of Wyoming’s Health and Human Services capital construction ARPA grant program, which received an additional $40 million from the legislature this year.

    Lander had requested $5.64 million for the project, but SLIB voted to fund only the COVID-related portions of the updated facility plan, which now features additional square footage; lower staff-to-patient ratios; single-occupancy rooms; larger communal areas, meeting spaces and outdoor areas; and upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

    Strube Fossen said the city could cover the rest of the project by cutting costs, seeking more local donations, applying for additional grants and loans, or utilizing revenues from Fremont County’s optional half percent sales tax for economic development.

    “I do think that we could make it work” she said. “It might delay the time schedule, but we’re committed to this project, and I think we can make it work at a lesser amount of funding.”


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