SLIB denies emergency MRG request for Dubois water project but directs state staff to help find other funding options

    The State Loan and Investment Board has denied an Emergency Mineral Royalty Grant request from the Town of Dubois that would have helped replace a restricted section of water main under U.S. Highway 26.

    SLIB also asked state staffers to work with Dubois to identify other funding sources for the project, however, and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said he would “take personal interest in this and do whatever I can to make sure we get the funding you need.”

    “Our staff believes that the Town of Dubois project is a good project,” Office of State Lands and Investments Director Jenifer Scoggin said during a SLIB meeting this month. “It simply fails to meet the definition of an emergency, as it will not alleviate an emergency situation which poses a direct and immediate threat to health, safety, or welfare.”


    The problem with the water main was identified almost 10 years ago, Scoggin pointed out, referencing the “large fire” that took place in Dubois in December 2014.

    As emergency crews fought the fire, Scoggin said the town’s “east water tank was completely drained while the west tank experienced very little drop in the water level” – demonstrating that “the water flow was restricted between the east and west sides of the town’s water system.”

    “The town believes the project qualifies as an emergency because it must eliminate any future firefighting deficiencies,” Scoggin said. “(But) the referenced fire occurred more than nine years ago, and to date, the water main system has been sufficient to supply the town’s needs.”

    2024 goal

    Dubois town engineer Matt Bowers explained that it took until last year to “figure out” where the water main restriction was located.


    “Determining where we had this restriction was not easy,” he told SLIB. “We didn’t really want to go and replace over a mile of water line not really knowing where (the problem) was.”

    Now that the location has been identified, though, Bower said “we feel, as the town, from a citizen safety standpoint” that the project does constitute “an emergency,” because “we have firefighting limitations,” and “it’s something we have to address.”

    Dubois Mayor Pat Neveaux identified the water line repair as one of her goals for 2024.


    “We know that we have to do it, and it’s going to get done,” Bowers said. “(The) project is basically in the permitting stage. It’s designed. … We’re just trying to lessen the impacts on the citizens of Dubois.”

    The town had requested $462,000 in emergency MRG funding for the project – about 84 percent of the total cost, according to OSLI.

    Other options

    Scoggin recommended SLIB consider the Dubois application as part of the regular MRG process in June, but State Treasurer Curt Meier said that program is likely to be “over-subscribed,” so he suggested the town consider applying for state drinking water funding too.


    “This goes for anybody else that’s got infrastructure out there,” Meier said, citing recent reductions in the amount of MRG funding available in Wyoming. “As far as being able to handle the infrastructure and the emergency needs, (we don’t) have the capacity anymore. … When times got rough, the cuts were made, but they never were, basically, put back in as far as the mineral grants.”

    Projects intended “just for fire flow purposes” aren’t eligible for drinking water funds, OSLI Grants and Loans Manager Beth Blackwell said, but state staffers could help Dubois modify the “wording” of their application to meet the requirements for that program.

    “These guys are really good at getting you qualified,” Meier said.

    For more information, call the Town of Dubois at 455-2345.


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