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City hoping to receive FEMA decision before July

The City of Three Forks is still waiting to hear whether it will be officially awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for its ongoing Flood Mitigation Project.

At last week’s City Council meeting, Flood Plain Administrator Kelly Smith told the governing body that she received an email from Great West Engineering stating that U.S. Fish, Wildlife & Parks has all of the information required to develop a biological opinion of the Three Forks project, which is needed for the grant, but they cannot get that to the City until July.

In January 2022, the City of Three Forks submitted applications to FEMA for the project. The FEMA Grant would fund 75% ($4,152,375) of the $5.5 million Flood Mitigation Project.

Smith said Great Western is talking with FEMA to see if they can give the city a decision before July.

“Until we get the decision, we can’t get the grant. Until we get the grant, we can’t start the permits. So, we’re in a pretty vicious circle right now,” Smith said.

During the meeting, Smith said she hoped there would be an answer before July because if not, they would probably not be doing construction until 2026.

In October 2022, the City of Three Forks unanimously approved the creation of a Flood Mitigation Special Improvement District (SID) to help gather funds for the project’s construction, maintenance, and incidental costs.

The Flood Mitigation Project will create a conveyance channel and culvert crossing mitigation option designed to capture overflow flooding from the Jefferson River before reaching the City of Three Forks.

The Council voted in September 2022 to approve a resolution of intent that selected a per-parcel assessment method that charges a $195 increase to property owners in the SID.

The first per-parcel assessment of $195 was included in the Gallatin County Tax Bills sent out in November 2023.

In April 2023, the Three Forks City Council unanimously voted to apply for a $3 million loan with 2.5 percent interest from the State Revolving Fund. The city will use the SRF funding for the SID and to purchase easements needed for the project.

City officials say the municipality needs interim financing through a Bond Anticipation Note to buy the easements.

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