Lewis & Clark board to vote on funding plan
- Associated Press
- October 22, 2013 - 9:30 AM
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System's board will vote this week on a plan to borrow $16 million from members to extend the system to the Minnesota city of Luverne, but it might be a tough sell.
Sioux Falls' and Madison's board representatives have already said that on Thursday they will vote against putting up more money for the project that has seen federal funds dwindle in recent years, according to the Argus Leader and Madison Daily Leader newspapers.
Luverne's representative, board chairman Red Arndt, said he will vote in favor of fronting the money in the hope that the federal government will pay the system back, but Sioux Falls representative Chad Huwe said that based on talks with other members he expects the plan to fail.
"We feel that we have fulfilled our commitment to Lewis & Clark financially. Now we're waiting for the federal government to make their end of the commitment," he said.
The water system was supposed to be distributing potable Missouri River water to 300,000 people in 20 member communities in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa by 2005, but reductions in federal funding have slowed the project. Nine of the 20 members still are without service, even though all members and the three states have prepaid their share of the cost.
Troy Larson, the system's executive director, said he doesn't like that members are being called upon to put up more money — but is either that or continue hoping for more federal money..
"The federal government has forced the members in choosing a very bad option," Larson told the Argus Leader.
© 2013 Star Tribune