SUNDANCE — With the help of Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, the city of Sundance will try one last time to sidestep repayment of $225,000 in emergency funding that it was granted by FEMA in 2012 to relocate the Cole Water Tank when it began to slide off the hill.
The federal agency confirmed earlier this year that the city will need to pay the money back because it did not perform a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) study on the land to which the tank was moved.
Despite several attempts, the city was not able to change FEMA’s mind. After two failed appeals, a request for assistance to the State Lands and Investments Board was also unsuccessful.
According to Mayor Paul Brooks and Clerk Treasurer Kathy Lenz, the city was not aware that a study was necessary on private land and was not corrected by FEMA. Pay requests were reimbursed in full at the time and only later was the issue of a NEPA study raised.
While accepting responsibility as the place where the buck stops, the mayor felt the demand to repay the money was not completely reasonable when it was simply a case of the city not having “dotted the i’s”. He had hoped to find help to repay the money rather than institute a user fee for city utilities that would have likely amounted to around $3.72 per user for the next eight years.
By Sarah Pridgeon
Sundance Times Via Wyoming News Exchange