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State budget squeaker had town project on hold

 


The town of Coulee Dam can relax a bit now that the state Legislature has passed its budget.

On June 20, the town was notified by the Department of Ecology, the agency handling the loan for its proposed wastewater treatment plant, that the loan could be tied up if the budget wasn’t passed.

The letter from Chief Financial Officer Erik Fairchild stated that the loan would be suspended, not terminated, if the Legislature didn’t approve the budget.

The budget finally did pass, and Gov. Jay Inslee signed it Sunday. Now the town can start spending money on its scaled down WWTP, estimated now to cost from $2.2 million to $2.5 million.

“The state cannot expend or agree to expend money or incur financial obligations that are not authorized through appropriations,” Fairchild had written to the town. “The appropriations set forth in the state’s current operating budget end on June 30.”

The DOE asked the town council to pass an amendment specifying the suspension of the funding until the department could determine that the funding insufficiency was resolved.

When the budget passed it resolved any question about funds being available. Now the town can proceed with its project.

 

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