The Clancy Water and Sewer District board will pay $5,000 for a chance to win $500,000.

That’s what it will cost to have Great West Engineering apply for another grant to put toward planning and constructing a proposed centralized water system in Clancy.

“I think that’s just good business,” said board member Bob Johnson after the board authorized the spending with a 4-0 vote at a special meeting held Sept. 10.

“We’ve had very good luck receiving grants already, so we have a pretty good chance of winning this one also,” board secretary Lori Gilliland said at the meeting, which was attended by about half a dozen people and a few county officials.

The grant is of the Montana Department of Commerce’s Delivering Local Assistance program, which awards funds to local governments and school districts to finish infrastructure projects.

The application is due Sept. 30. The board said it would hear later this year whether it was successful.

The state-sourced grant could be used to fulfill matching requirements of federal grants the board might apply for, Gilliland said.

If awarded, the DLA grant would augment more than $1.5 million in funding the board has already secured: $750,000 from the Treasure State Endowment Program, $450,000 from the Community Development Block Grant Program, $217,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and $125,000 from the Renewable Resource Grant and Loan Program.

A hoped for $500,000 in loan forgiveness was “not yet secured,” board president David Leitheiser said at the board’s Aug. 27 meeting.

The proposed water system would cost an estimated $2.9 million, according to a preliminary engineering report prepared in 2018. What amount grants wouldn’t cover would be paid for by a loan.

That could cost an average residential customer about $110 month, according to a June 2018 application for a Treasure State Endowment Program grant Great West prepared for the district. The payments would service a $1 million loan the district might need to help pay for the proposed project.

Some potentially affected ratepayers have argued the monthly cost would be an economic hardship, while the board has stated that it continues to explore all possible grant opportunities.

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