July 29, 2022 |

The City of Rawlins is finalizing a $7.45 million grant for the replacement of a portion of the wood stave pipeline and spring boxes in the Sage Creek pipeline. The grant from the American Rescue Plan Act will also help underwrite repairs to the 32-mile pipeline from Sage Creek Basin to the treatment plant. Rawlins City Council was set to approve the grant application at its July 19th meeting.

The grant requires a match from the city in the amount of $1.1 million. Discussion over approving the motion as worded became fuzzy because council members weren’t clear of the funding source for the grant. As written, the original motion called for about half of the city’s portion of the grant was to come from another ARPA grant. After changing the language of the motion to pull the money from a wind energy impact assistance fund, Councilwoman Linda Smith read from an email from the city manager that apparently not all council members had received.

Pictured above: Leaking water pipeline in Rawlins. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

The last minute switch led to confusion and questions. Not everyone was comfortable with the change. Councilman Chris Weisenberg wanted to know what the balance in the Chokecherry Sierra Madre impact assistance was, and if it enough money was available to pay for the transfer.

Weisenberg said he had never seen the email from the city manager prior to the vote. Council discussed holding a special meeting to reconsider the motion after it was rewritten questions about the funding were answered. Councilmember Aaron Durst was among those who asked for a delay.

Bigfoot 99 asked City Manager Sean Metcalf this week to clear up the confusion and if council had approved applying for the grant. Metcalf said, yes, council ultimately approved the grant application.

Council discussion at the July 19th meeting also revolved around how to leverage the city’s request in the face of what is expected to be stiff competition for the ARPA grants. Some staff and council members suggested letters of endorsement advocating for Rawlins should be included with the city’s application. Mayor Weickum said Governor Mark Gordon is in the city’s corner.

The grant application is due later this month. The city won’t know if it was selected for several more months.

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