An external advisory group formed by WDNR met for the first time this week in Madison to discuss rule changes to WDNR Chapter 162 (Clean Water Fund Program*). The group, comprised of representatives from WDNR, USDA Rural Development, Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District and the consulting engineering industry, is meeting monthly from January through April to discuss items that include, but are not limited to, eligible costs, priority scoring system, MHI (median household income), DBE and the application process. (A separate advisory group has been formed to discuss rule changes to WDNR Chapter 166, Safe Drinking Water Loan Program.)
The tentative schedule for the Clean Water Fund rule revisions includes a 30-day public comment period in June 2014; new rules adopted by WDNR before January 2015 in time for legislative review in the spring; and rules implemented in summer 2015.
A significant change to the Clean Water Fund program is the implementation of an online ITA (Intent to Apply) submittal process to be in place by the fall of 2014. WDNR anticipates using the new online submittal process for the 2015 ITA submittals which are due December 31, 2014.
A new scoring system that is part of the rule revision process will be in effect after the rules are adopted by the Natural Resource Board (NRB) and approved by the legislature and Governor. This is anticipated to occur in 2015. Once the rules are in effect, the WDNR will begin programming for an on-line self-scoring Priority Evaluation and Ranking Form, to accompany the on-line ITA form.
Chuck Pape, civil engineer with R.A. Smith National, is a voluntary member of the advisory group. He has 30+ years of prior experience with WDNR, serving primarily as their first point of contact for all Clean Water Fund projects in southeastern Wisconsin. Chuck’s experience with the existing funding system at WDNR provides a unique perspective on priority scoring and loan eligibility. Stay tuned for future updates.
If you have any questions, please contact Robin Schmidt, Chief, Environmental Loans Section, at 608-266-3915 or email@example.com.
*The Clean Water Fund loans money at reduced interest rates for wastewater and stormwater projects. Hardship financial assistance in the form of a reduced interest rate loan or a grant is provided for municipalities with low income and high user costs.