From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 106, Number 21 - May 22, 2009
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Pinedale stimulus: $6 million

by Stephen Crane

On May 12, the town of Pinedale became $6 million richer.

“It was a team effort,” said town engineer Eugene Ninnie. “There was a lot of people involved. There was Planning and Zoning. There was Patti (Racich, town clerk). We all had to get numbers together for this application.”

Personnel at WLC Engineering’s office in Cheyenne also provided crucial assistance in navigating the application procedures.

“They helped out tremendously,” added Ninnie.

On March 11, Wyoming’s State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) held a videoconference with municipalities throughout the state, detailing the funds that would be available to Wyoming as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the federal stimulus package.

This included $38.7 million aimed at water and wastewater infrastructure projects here in Wyoming.

By March 31, the applications from municipalities were due, which provided a very short window of opportunity to complete all the engineering plans and “shovel-ready” requirements.

With the help of WLC Engineering and Rio Verde Engineering, Pinedale compiled the necessary design plans and applied for $6.152 million in funding for Phase IV and V of the water and sewer projects currently under way.

“When news that this federal stimulus money was going to become available, I told Gene (Ninnie) to have those (engineering) guys kick into gear,” recalled Mayor Stephen Smith. “And when the application process first started, they were up to 50 percent completion on the engineering, and now, we’re close to total completion.”

“They said, ‘You have to get this out by a certain date,’” said Ninnie. “And we pushed and got it.”

Of the over $6 million in funding, $3.17 is allotted for Phase IV, which will replace old sewer lines, and $2.98 million is for Phase V, which is for water lines.

“We got everything we asked for,” said Smith.

The terms of the loans will be divided into two parts.

“Half of (the amounts) is the zero percent loan with 100 percent principal forgiveness, which is basically, here you go, with no strings attached,” explained Smith. “The other half of each of those amounts is 2.5 percent over 20 years, which is great, so it’s cheap money.”

As part of the ARRA stipulations, the projects must use only American-made products, and they must also meet the Department of Labor’s wage standards.

Only Casper got more money from the ARRA funding, at $8 million.

The meeting last Tuesday in Cheyenne was scheduled from 8 a.m. until noon, Governor Dave Freudenthal made quick work of allocating the funds.

“Literally, the meeting lasted until about 8:20,” said Smith. “In other words, they gave away $38 million in about 12 minutes.

“We had a motion and it had been seconded to approve all the distributions,” added Smith with a laugh. “And the governor stops and says, ‘Any of you mayors out there want to talk yourselves out of this money?’”

No mayors spoke up, and the distribution was quickly approved.

Ninnie saw it as the governor’s way of acknowledging all the hard work of state staffers in recent weeks, who had to process all the applications in a short timeframe.

“The reason why the governor slam-dunked it so fast is because their staff — they must have spent at least Saturdays and Sundays for weeks doing all this,” Ninnie said. “And they had it so well prepared that he supported his staff by just saying, 20 minutes, done.”

“I had the good fortune to speak with the governor afterwards,” said Smith. “And he was pleased for Pinedale and the community.”

At the Town Council meeting last Wednesday night, Smith wanted to acknowledge the effort of everybody who contributed to the success of Pinedale’s applications.

“I would like, for the record, to express gratitude to Eugene Ninnie, to the staff of WLC, to the staff of the town, for the hard work they did towards getting the $6.2 million,” he said.

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