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Approval of funds will mean lower payments on sewage plant


A process that for a time stranded some federal funding in Washington D.C., will now play out with Coulee Dam residents paying less for their new wastewater treatment plant because a grant finally came through.

With some prodding.

Mayor Greg Wilder received word in an email Monday morning that more than a half million dollars of the total $7.9 million augmented plan would come through as a loan, and almost a million more in a low-interest loan to allow the town to upgrade its “solids” handling at the new plant.

Wilder said the new bottom line means a typical resident will get a bill about $4 a month less than if the extended package had not been approved.

The news came from the Wenatchee office of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Rural Development on Monday.

It had been all but approved last winter but was held up as the administration in Washington took charge. The local office had taken the issue as far as it could, Wilder said he was told.

So on June 22, Wilder wrote to Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and to Fourth District Rep. Dan Newhouse, explaining the project is “shovel-ready” and affects not just the town, but the USBR, the Colville Tribes, and other agencies. He also noted the lack of taxable land due to the federal ownership and exemption.

Just before noon Monday, Wilder received word that the extra $936,000 loan and $558,000 grant had been approved by the USDA national office.

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