Make Wise Use of Stimulus Funds News, Sports, Jobs

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Over the past two years, Weirton officials have been making plans for expanding the city’s utility plants, all with the goal of increasing processing capacity in anticipation of the community’s future development.

Plans call for the water treatment plant to grow from its current capacity of 4 million gallons per day to 8 million, with the sewage treatment plant also increasing from 4 to 8 million gallons, with a potential of 4 million. additional liters in the future if it is ever needed.

We also learned last week that both projects are expected to be completed sometime in 2024, once designs are completed and approved, contractors are selected and construction begins.

One thing that is not yet established is how these projects will be funded.

Design loans have been guaranteed through the West Virginia Water Development Authority, with several sources of funding being considered for the construction phase, including loans through state and federal governments. Grant opportunities are also being discussed.

One option, which was raised at a board meeting last week, was the ability to use some of the funds Weirton expects to receive as part of the US bailout.

This block of COVID stimulus funds, with dollars to be allocated directly to both states and local governments, will see millions of dollars reaching our communities. Federal officials have specified uses of the funds that may include improving infrastructure, such as water, sewage and broadband.

This means Weirton’s utility projects would be a perfect use for ARP dollars, and we encourage Weirton officials to seriously consider using as much as they can for these plans.

We don’t know exactly how much the expansions will cost once they are completed, but we do know it will result in higher rates for local residents and businesses.

The fewer loans taken out to pay them off, the less expected an increase. So if grants or ARP funds can be allocated to these costs, it is less money that the city has to borrow and it means less increase for the inhabitants of the city.

It will be good for everyone.

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