By Nathan Bourne

A Closer Look at Funding Conditions

Seeley Lake Sewer


September 21, 2017

SEELEY LAKE - After the Seeley Lake Sewer Board’s special meeting Sept. 14 where the board voted to accept Rural Development’s new conditions, the Pathfinder compared the new Letter of Conditions with the previous letter. The comparison revealed a handful of changes not discussed at the meeting.

RD did not respond to the Pathfinder’s request for additional information and clarification on changes to the Letter of Conditions by the press deadline.

Letter of Conditions dated Sept. 11, 2017 versus Letter of Conditions dated Aug. 17, 2016:

• The requirement for the district to collect 148 signed Sewer User Agreements remains the same. A line was added stating the purpose was to show the system “will be put to beneficial use.” It goes on to explain that if the district doesn’t achieve the 148 users, it must provide RD with a plan on how it plans to fund the operating and maintenance with fewer users.

It is unclear if this condition replaces a condition from a separate letter dated March 20, 2017 for the district to have 155 signed user agreements before bidding the project.

• A condition was added to the Sewer User Agreements section requiring the district to collect a fee when landowners sign the agreement. The amount of the fee is to be set by the district and approved by RD and “should be an amount high enough to indicate sincere interest on the part of the potential user, but not so high as to preclude service to low income families.” There must also be a deadline for the user to hook up or lose the money they paid.

• A requirement for a Delinquent Assessment Reserve of $290,000 has been added and is initially funded by the project. This fund will be used to make loan payments if property owners fail to pay their assessments.

• An agreement is now required with Missoula County to subsidize operations cost and to provide for the maintenance of the Delinquent Assessment Reserve account.

• A requirement to use all American made iron and steel with a few exceptions has been added.

• The requirement for the debt to be approved by a public vote has been taken out.

• A section was removed requiring the district to enact unsubsidized operating and maintenance rates at the end of three years.


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