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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

News briefs: Water infrastructure funding and Lincoln County elections

State receives extra funding to replace aging water infrastructure from federal infrastructure bill

State funding to replace aging water infrastructure is getting a boost this year due to the recent federal bipartisan infrastructure bill. State officials will spend some of the $65 million dollars replacing lead pipes and on other projects impacting public health.

Every year, the state receives federal funds to replace water infrastructure like water lines or treatment facilities. But this year, Sandy Koenig with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality says the state is getting a lot more money than it’s received in the past.

“In the last several years, our capitalization grant for the state has been around $11 million,” she says.

Koenig says some of that extra funding will specifically be directed at replacing lead pipes and mitigating what are known as emerging contaminants that aren’t currently regulated under federal law. Historically, funding wasn’t allocated for those types of projects specifically.

DEQ is currently asking for project proposals statewide.

Lincoln County will move forward with school board elections after resignations

Lincoln County plans to move forward with local school board elections after its entire election department resigned last month, according to a county commissioner. County Commissioner Josh Letcher in an emailed statement said the county has hired an interim clerk and recorder and is sending out election materials to school districts.

Letcher says the districts will be able to carry out the election process once they have the proper materials to send to voters.

The Lincoln County clerk, election administrator and support staff recently resigned, though it’s unclear what led to those resignations.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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