ICYMI: Bullock Goes Back on Promise, Tells Laurel: Get a Loan
Governor Bullock promised the city of Laurel $2.7 million for a critical water jobs project but he has gone back on his promise and told Laurel: Get a loan. Residents of Laurel were waiting years for this money only to find out it was never put in a budget by Bullock and instead money they believed was marked to ensure clean water would flow in their community was given to other communities.
This is the latest example in a string of infrastructure failures under Bullock’s watch:
- During the 2015 Legislative session, Bullock pursued an all-or-nothing approach to infrastructure funding and demanded Montana go into debt to pay for all his pet projects despite the state having the cash to pay for our critical infrastructure needs.
- During the 2013 Legislative session, Bullock VETOED a critical infrastructure bill for Eastern Montana despite overwhelming bipartisan support, passing the Montana House (93-6) and Senate (48-2).
Billings Gazette: Governor advises Laurel City Council to take out loan for water
Instead of arriving in Laurel with a plan to pay the state’s $2.7 million share of a project needed to keep water flowing from taps and through the refinery, the governor’s staff told Laurel City Council members they would have to take out a loan.
Original plans to build a new intake 3 miles upstream of Laurel’s defunct one called for $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the state paying a 25 percent share, or $2.7 million. Although the city expected the governor’s office to put it in budgets, it did not appear before the 2011 or 2013 legislatures, so Laurel entered the 2015 session scrambling, City Administrator Heidi Jensen said.
Gov. Steve Bullock directed his budget office to patch together contingency funds, grants and loans to help Laurel.
But the package proposed to city leaders in July has since disappeared.