At the beginning of October, the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), sent word via letter to Branson Mayor Rachel Snyder that its application had been accepted and that the town would be awarded $67,500 “for the construction of a new water filtration system,” the letter said.
The grant offer was made from federal mineral lease proceeds, the letter continued, and also mentioned the competition for these limited funds was intense.
Trinidad also applied for DOLA funding for the creation of a master plan for Fisher’s Peak and was turned down, although Executive Director Rick Garcia understood and appreciated the request.
“We understand the need, merit, and opportunity,” said Garcia to Mayor Rico, “so we ask you to continue working with your regional manager, Clay Brown for further discussion.”
Fortunately, Mayor Rico commented that it would not set back efforts for creating a master plan for Trinidad’s new state park.
“We do have some funding,” Rico said, “and we are moving forward regardless.”
Branson’s next steps
Since the town of Branson received the funding they asked for, plus an additional $17,500 because of its integrated design.
“As the system design includes wind and solar power components,” Snyder explained, “we received extra credit for aligning our project with Governor Polis’s focus on renewable energy. As a result, our original grant request for $50,000 netted an award of $67,500 plus a reduction in our required match from $30,000 down to $22,500.”
Snyder said this comes as a huge relief after learning just before Christmas of 2018 that efforts to reverse a prior reclassification of its water supply by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was denied.
“In response,” Snyder continued, “Council moved forward along an unwavering path, refusing to saddle the town’s 29 water customers with crushing debt service, and seeking an efficient solution with an affordable price tag and cost-effective operational overhead.”
Once the contract with DOLA is executed, Snyder said they “will finalize details with Innovative Water Technologies, develop a schedule, and get to work.”
Snyder also said they will notify Branson water customers by phone, email, social media, and/or personal visit if issues arise with water supply during improvements.