City receives $8.4 million in state ARPA funds
The city is receiving $8,431,368 in minimum allocation grants from the state for eligible wastewater, stormwater and drinking water infrastructure expenses through the state’s American Rescue Plan Act funds.
The state had previously budgeted the funds for municipalities and the City of Great Falls had been budgeted for $8.5 million but had to submit a list of eligible expenses for final approval, according to Tom Hazen, the city’s grant administrator.
The city decided to use the funding toward projects already in the works and as reimbursement for other project expenditures since ARPA lets the city claim expenses that were booked after March 2021.
Hazen said city officials not to use all of the funding toward future projects since they’d be subject to inflation and the dollar might not go as far, they decided on reimbursement since those funds would no longer be subject to the federal timelines and rules for ARPA funds, freeing them up for more projects.
The is using $3.8 million of the minimum allocation grant funds as the match to a wastewater project already underway. That project received $2 million in competitive ARPA funds in 2022 for Lift Station 1, which was built in 1979 and is the only river crossing for the downtown sewer collection system. The station was built under emergency circumstances due to a 1959 failure of the crossing that resulted in raw sewage being leaked directly into the Missouri River, according to the staff report.
The commission approved a $1.3 million contract in January 2022 to start the project.
This lift station pumps about a third of the city’s sewage across the Missouri to the wastewater treatment plant and the project will install a redundant force main and other improvements, according to the June 2022 staff report.
“This project is a necessary safeguard against further negative environmental impacts. In fact, this program was identified already identified as a priority when public works received the award notification,” according to the staff report.
The city will use $1.8 million as the match for a downtown drainage project.
Commissioners awarded a $1.4 million contract for the first phase of the downtown project last year. The minimum allocation grant funds will go toward the second phase of the project for which a contract has not yet been awarded.
The city also submitted five applications for reimbursement totaling $2,712,183 on previous infrastructure projects.