Commerce Awards Planning Grants to 20 Montana Communities

Big Timber Montana HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Department of Commerce announced today that 20 Montana towns, cities and counties will share $947,000 of grant funding to help develop and plan infrastructure projects to increase area health and safety. The funding is through Commerce’s Montana Coal Endowment Program (MCEP).

“For over 30 years, Commerce’s MCEP program has made it more affordable for Montana communities to develop local infrastructure projects by providing grant funding that lowers the cost of public facility construction,” said Galen Steffens, Commerce’s Community MT Division Administrator. “The grants we’re announcing today will help improve the health and safety of our neighbors who live in these areas.”

The State-funded MCEP program is designed to help address the affordability of local infrastructure projects by providing grants to lower the cost of constructing public facilities.

The following communities and districts will receive MCEP planning grants:

In 2021, the Town of Bearcreek received a $15,000 MCEP planning grant to complete a water system preliminary engineering report. The funding helped them assess issues within their water system that needed to be addressed.

“Without the MCEP grant, the Town of Bearcreek couldn't have completed a preliminary engineering report (PER) on our drinking water system, which is 56 years old. With only 68 active water accounts, we try to ensure safe and healthy water for each of our consumers by doing continual small maintenance,” said Jane Swanson-Webb, Clerk and Treasurer of the Town of Bearcreek. “The MCEP grant allowed us to proceed with a PER furthering our education on the proposed necessary maintenance, ensuring a good future for the Bearcreek Water System.”

Eligible applicants for MCEP planning grants include incorporated cities or towns, counties, consolidated governments, tribal governments and county or multi-county water, sewer or solid waste districts. Program funding comes from revenues earned on the interest from coal severance taxes.

For more information about MCEP planning grants, visit

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