Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main reasons for this project?

  • The existing water delivery system is old, dilapidated, and in sad need of extensive repairs.
  • This rehabilitation project will remedy the problems with the system.

 

What are the major problems which will be addressed by this project?

  • Excessively corroded transportation piping which leaks, wasting water.  In Antelope’s case, the amount of water leaking out into the ground probably nearly equals the amount of water being delivered and used.
  • No fully functional water meters.
  • A reservoir which capacity is much too small to service the needs of the community.
  • Valves which control the delivery of water are, in some cases not operational and in others have been paved over and are not accessible.

Why is the water system needing rehabilitation?

  • No infrastructure updates, such as new piping, new reservoir, new valves, etc. were ever done, as there was never sufficient funds to do that work.  There was a brief attempt about 10 -12 years (+/-) ago to replace the pipe which delivers water from the well to the reservoir, but only part of the pipe was replaced.
  • There have been thousands and thousands of dollars of repair work done over the years in an attempt to keep the system functional.  However, nothing has ever been done to the infrastructure of the water system which could significantly reduce or eliminate the constant repairs.
  • The water system is, with the exception of the well, over 50 years old and well beyond its life expectancy.

 

Since there wasn’t money before, where does a rehabilitation project like this get funding?

  • The cost estimates which we procured from various engineering companies was between $900,000 and $1,500,000.
  • There are basically only two sources of money for projects like that:  public and private.
    • Actually, there is a third choice and that is to levy the residents/property to raise the capital; but this was never ever seriously contemplated.
  • Private funding was investigated but the sheer cost of the project put the private funding way beyond the ability of private individuals/organizations to meet unless repayment of loans was contemplated.  The city has never been in the financial position to repay the amount of borrowing it would take to fund the entire project.
  • Public funding was the remaining option, and several different funding sources were investigated but quickly discarded as they all, except for the one which WAS CHOSEN required a significant loan and the cost of that was far beyond what Antelope could afford.

 

What was the source of the funds?

  • One, and only one agency which can fund the type of project Antelope needs have some funds which are grant only and requires no repayment by the grantee (City of Antelope).  That was the Infrastructure Finance Authority (IFA) which administers a relatively small amount of HUD money through what is called their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
  • When we first attempted to apply for some of these CDBG funds we were told that the City didn’t qualify.  It took months, in fact nearly a year, to get past that hurdle, and we were finally allowed to participate in the application process.

 

How much was granted through the CDBG funding?

  • Antelope was granted $1,025 million.

How much of this one million plus needs to be repaid?

  • ZERO.  No CDBG funds require any form of repayment.
  • However, that said, IFA, the administering agency, requires, along with HUD, the actual funding agency, that such a project will be granted funding ONLY ONE TIME.  All further infrastructure repair, maintenance, and operating costs, (R, M & O) must be born by the city and its revenue stream(s) must be capable of supporting those activities.
  • Since this is a water system project, water rates must be commensurate with the financial burden of keeping the system functioning from now into the future

What will happen if the water system improvements are not made?

  • In the words of the North Central Oregon Public Health organization, another one of many different agencies which have had, (and will continue to have) input in the project: “This is the most fragile water system in all of Central Oregon, and maybe the entire state.”  If this system is not replaced, it is entirely possible that Antelope wakes up one morning and there is no water and no way to get any without this entire rehabilitation effort being completed.
  • Without water being delivered to each house and business, there would be, basically, no town at all.

I’ve heard some people say that we really don’t need this project.  Why are we spending a lot of time and effort on it?

  • Rumors are, without a doubt, full of sound and fury, but without facts to back the claims.
  • This website, the City’s Engineers, IFA, Business Oregon, MCEDD, and other state agencies are the only reliable sources of information.

Are there any funds which the city anticipates using which will require repayment?

  • Yes

Why?

  • Between the time the project was approved by IFA and HUD, and the current time, a number of project costs have gone up considerably, and it is entirely likely that not everything which is needed can be supplied within the budget of $1,025 million.
  • The obvious options were to either scale back the project and not replace everything or to look for additional funding.
  •  The city found that an Oregon State program called the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (SDWRLF) has funds which are distributed as part grant and part loan.  The award is for 60% grant and 40% loan.
    • The part which is grant is, like other grants, not subject to repayment.
    • The part which is the loan is subject to repayment.  The terms of such loan are 1% per year for 30 years.
    • The funds are disbursed with the grant portion being paid out first and the loan portion last.
    • The city carefully investigated and decided to apply for the maximum amount of $500,000.  This was done for two reasons:  1) We are not required to use all the funds, only what we actually need and 2) to eliminate the need to reapply should a lesser amount not be sufficient.  A third benefit of applying for the maximum amount was simply that we can, if necessary, expend funds from the SDWRLF using only the grant portion of the award and never incur the need to repay anything.
  • How much is the award?
    • As mentioned above, we applied for and were awarded $500,000.00.  None of those funds have been expended.
      • The actual terms of the award are $330,000 grant and $170,000 loan.
      • If ALL FUNDS were expended, including the $170,00 loan, the repayment obligation would be $546.70 per month.
      • This $546/month divided by 40 connections (a conservative number) would result in an obligation of $13.67 per connection.
      • This amount will be added to the base water rate, which is estimated to be very close to the current flat rate paid by residents of $30.00/month.
      • Naturally, if we don’t have to spend all the loan funds, the repayment obligation will be less, not more.

 

Why am I just now hearing about this project and the need to possibly borrow money to complete it?

  • The city has held meeting after meeting where the various aspects of this project, including funding, have been discussed and examined.  Every one of these meetings has been open to the public and the public has been (and is always) invited.
  • All of the information has been continuously available since the inception of this effort.
  • Nothing has been done in secret or behind closed doors.