County funds generator at complex
The Sweetwater County Commissioners decided to help fund the purchase of an emergency generator for the Sweetwater County Events Complex, as well as costs associated with installing the unit.
The commissioners met with county grant’s manager Krisena Marchal, Sheriff Mike Lowell and the executive director of the complex, Larry Lloyd to discuss the generator, which would be used to provide backup power during an emergency situation. The complex is a designated drop off point for vaccines and is a major triage point during an emergency. Lloyd said the vaccines would require power to refrigerate them and maintain their effectiveness. During an emergency resulting in a power outage, not only would vaccines or other refrigerated medications possibly fail, it would undermine the usefulness of the complex as an emergency shelter.
“If we can’t go forward, we should not have that designation,” Lloyd told the commissioners.
The complex received a grant to purchase a generator in 2015 after a hurried grant application process featuring a lot of miscommunication from the Homeland Security office in Cheyenne, according to Lowell. As a result the county received a grant for the generator, though the initial grant amount awarded was 25 percent less than the requested amount and wouldn’t cover the total costs of the generator, nor the work associated with installing it. For the generator alone, the shortfall amounts to $15,079, while additional work brought the shortfall to a total $116,839.
According to Marchal, the Homeland Security grant initially allowed for a phased installation for the generator, with the county receiving multiple grants to cover the costs for the complete project. However, that allowance was changed. Also, the grant had to be used for a generator, which would have forced the county to return the grant if it could not make the purchase.
“It’s pretty clear it’s a use it or lose it situation,” Commissioner John Kolb said.
The commissioners agreed the generator is a needed investment at the events complex, deciding to use budgeted grant matching funds to pay for the generator and installation work. Marchal said the county budgeted $150,000 to cover unanticipated grant match requirements earlier this year. The account also has an additional $50,000 in funds carried over from the prior year. While the expenditure does reduce the account by more than half, Marchal said the county hasn’t needed to use grant matching funds thus far, with the fiscal year nearing its half-way point in January.