FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 9, 2015
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
John Grassy, Communications Director, DNRC, 444-0465
Helena, Mont. – Governor Steve Bullock today announced that ratepayers in Manhattan will save $94,668 thanks to changes he made to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program last year. The savings come as a result of two SRF loans to the city, totaling $562,000, to fund improvements to the city’s drinking water system. One of the loans, in the amount of $281,000, is forgivable if certain conditions are met, resulting in higher savings for the community.
“Through strong fiscal management, and a bit of common sense, we’re ensuring ratepayers in Manhattan can keep more money in their pockets, while making critical infrastructure upgrades. These upgrades will help to support important economic development in the community,” Bullock said of the loan. “We’ll continue to work with local communities to find responsible ways to make critical infrastructure improvements, and save money for Main Street Montana businesses and customers.”
Using the new loan, Manhattan will construct a new 300,000 gallon water storage tank south of town, a new transmission main connecting the storage tank to the distribution system, replace a booster station pump, and add a telemetry system to automate operations.
Last year, Bullock reduced the interest rates on loans through the SRF loan program in order to expand local government’s access to capital to make important upgrades to local infrastructure, while saving ratepayers money. He reduced long-term interest rates in this program from 3 percent, to 2.5 percent, and reduced construction interest rates from 3 percent to 1.5 percent. In addition, he reduced the amount of financial reserves communities must hold in order to receive a loan, and reduced the debt service coverage communities must have. These changes were made possible through strong fiscal management at the state level and the state’s sterling bond rating. In their first year, these reduced rates are expected to provide $40 million in savings for ratepayers across Montana.
The changes to the SRF interest rate were made as part of Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project. This project is building and implementing a business plan for the state of Montana that helps businesses grow, supports job creation, and increases wages. One of the goals of the project is to ensure Montana businesses and communities have an efficient and reliable infrastructure.
The State Revolving Fund loan program, which is administered by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), enables Montana communities to upgrade or expand critical drinking or wastewater treatment facilities at the lowest possible cost.
For more information on the State Revolving Fund program, contact Anna Miller of DNRC at (406) 444-6689, or visit the Montana DNRC Web site at http://dnrc.mt.gov/.
Watch for updates on this SRF project on the Montana DNRC Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MontanaDNRC