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City of Sunnyside receives good financial news from state

City of Sunnyside Public Works Director Jim Bridges is a happy man.

Bridges received preliminary notification earlier this month that the city has qualified for funding for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.

"It is great news," said Bridges.

Bridges said the city received draft notification from the Department of Ecology that the city is in line to receive $16.7 million in funding for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant. Of that money, $5 million will go towards design and planning for the plant. Bridges said the remaining $11.7 million is set to be paid back over 20 years at zero interest.

Sunnyside also received draft notification from the Department of Health that the city will receive a $4 million loan for water system improvements. Bridges said the health department will be doing a survey of the community to evaluate whether Sunnyside will have to pay any interest over the course of the 30-year loan. The money can be used for water system improvements, such as new wells, said Bridges. The city can utilize the $4 million to pay for projects from its capital improvement budget, freeing up the $3.5 million already in the coffers.

Bridges said the city should know pretty soon more about the status of the grants.

Bridges said construction at the wastewater treatment plant is scheduled to start in June.

Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell is equally as excited, but yet cautious. Stockwell said the money the city is scheduled to receive still has to be approved by the state legislature. Stockwell said the money should be a given for the city, despite the hard economic times the state is seeing. He said the money the state uses to allocate these funds from comes from a source that usually remains untouched by the legislature.

"We are on the list of projects to be funded," said Stockwell. "It is too early to say what is going to happen. It is very good news for the city, but it is tentative. We are glad we are on the list, but we aren't writing any checks yet."

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