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CIB will pump some funds into Helper's plan for pipes

Sun Advocate associate editor

Helper City has gotten a $74,000 grant from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board to develop a capital facilities master plan. The grant matches an equal amount that will be put up by the city, which has been saving the money generated by a water rate increase adopted in January.

The $148,000 will finance an engineering study to define and prioritize fixes in the aging culinary, sewer and storm water drainage systems. Parts of its water network are 70 years old and not up to standards. Its drinking water is carried in leaky, lead-jointed iron pipes. Sewage moves through deteriorating clay pipe that causes residential backups. Heavy rains periodically create floods that damage roads.

Mayor Dean Armstrong said that Franson Civil Engineers, which had been hired earlier to begin the plan, will continue and should be completed before spring.

The CIB grant and master plan are another step in the complete makeover of infrastructure that the government has been working on for more than a year.

The first step was to revise the water rate structure. As the Sun Advocate reported earlier, Armstrong explained that if the city was going to undertake the extensive work ahead, it would need grants and loans from the CIB and other funding agencies. But to qualify for that outside funding, the city would have to demonstrate that it was willing and able to carry its share of the financial load.

That was apparently the case Thursday when the CIB board suspended the rules of its regularly scheduled project review meeting to approve Helper's request.

At the city council meeting Thursday evening, Armstrong said the city will be going back to the CIB when the plan is done and the projects are shovel-ready.

The Community Impact Board awards grants and low-interest loans to cities, towns and counties impacted by mining and the extraction of oil and gas on federal land. The program is managed by the Division of Housing and Community Development under the Utah Department of Community and Culture.

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