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LibbyMt.com > News > February 2011 > Commissioners approve $$ for hospital infrastructure projects

Commissioners approve $$ for hospital infrastructure projects
Community Development Block Grant money can help pay for moving water, wastewater and storm sewer lines for new hospital
by Duane Williams, KLCB-KTNY Radio
February 23, 2011

The Lincoln County Commissioners have voted to allow St John's Lutheran Hospital to apply for $525,000 in Community Development Block Grant money. The money is a combination of City/County funds available for infrastructure projects. In the construction of the new $35 million dollar hospital, City of Libby water, wastewater and storm sewer lines must be rerouted. The current placement of the new hospital would end up on top of the lines or the lines would be in parking lots which would require manholes and considerable inconvenience should something go wrong with those lines. The new water, wastewater and storm sewer lines will be located in streets and alleys to provide service to the new hospital and the surrounding neighborhood.

While the cost of rerouting the lines is a part of the construction cost, the hospital did not want to pay the cost of moving the lines.

The City Council has not voted to allow the hospital to apply for the City portion of the half million plus dollars.

The County and the City each have an allocation of $400,000. The County will be the lead agency, even though the County has less available funds. According to Paul Rumelhart, that is due to the County having more experience with administrating CDBG funds.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is a federally funded grant program designed to help communities with their greatest community development needs. All projects must be designed to principally benefit low and moderate-income families. The program was established by the Federal Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (42 USC 5301) and is administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The CDBG Program is divided into two major categories: The Entitlement CDBG Program assists communities with 50,000 or larger populations. In Montana, only Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula are Entitlement communities. They receive CDBG funds on a formula basis and are directly under HUD administration; and the State CDBG Program assists communities with populations under 50,000. Allocations are established for each state on the basis of a statutory formula. St Johnís is pursuing loans from Rural Development to fund the new hospital construction.
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Story by Duane Williams, KLCB-KTNY Radio, www.todaysbestcountryonline.com, e-mail: klcb@frontiernet.net.


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