Statewide Adverstising

New Auburn still waiting for water treatment funds

October 9th, 2008

Although New Auburn was told more than a year ago it would receive money from the federal government to help pay for its water treatment plant, New Auburn has yet to receive the money.

The city has now been told that the funds should arrive by the end of the month. New Auburn had initially expected the funds during the first quarter of 2008.

The City of New Auburn has been working with Sen. Norm Coleman’s office to clear up red tape, according to City Clerk Wendy Becker.

It was in the summer of 2007 when $295,000 in funding for the water treatment plant was secured in the Senate’s fiscal year 2008 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

The water treatment plant and a water tower were built in New Auburn to reduce high arsenic levels in the city’s water supply. The $1.2 million project presented difficult financial circumstances for the community.

New Auburn City Council member Catherine Lorenz explained that the funding delay occurred when an employee of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hadn’t heard about the project and requested a review. The employee then claimed that New Auburn was not eligible for the money because the project was completed. The funding for the project, however, had been signed into law, and New Auburn had applied for the funds prior to completion, she explained. Lorenz said that Coleman’s office hired an attorney to get the issued resolved.

Lorenz also credited Rep. Laura Brod and former State Sen. Tom Neuville for helping New Auburn secure a low interest loan through the state to help fund the project.

New Auburn plans to use the funds to pay back the low interest loan from the state. The state and federal funds used for the project helped keep the water rates in the community more affordable, she said.

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