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Willmar receives state grant help for wastewater project

WILLMAR -- The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority awarded the city of Willmar a $500,000 grant to help pay for its new wastewater treatment plant, according to an announcement on Friday from Dan McElroy,

commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In anticipation of the grant award, Willmar City Council members had authorized Mayor Les Heitke and City Administrator Michael Schmit on Dec. 19 to execute an agreement with the Public Facilities Authority for the funding.

The new plant will enable Willmar to meet federal and state mandates for phosphorus treatment, according to Schmit.

The city has been arranging financing for the estimated $88 million wastewater treatment project with the Public Facilities Authority. Being able to obtain the financing and assistance has helped reduce the estimated average monthly rate increase for residential users from $44 to $39, according to information previously provided the city.

The Public Facilities Authority, created by the Legislature in 1987, has financed more than $2.5 billion in infrastructure projects. It operates three revolving loan funds and several other loan and grant programs to finance infrastructure projects, primarily for clean water and drinking water.