In Montana, several programs are available to communities that need help paying to maintain and improve their water and wastewater utilities. These state and federal programs were created to assist communities such as yours to provide clean water and properly treat wastewater while helping keep user rates affordable. To be eligible to receive a grant or loan from these programs, a community must include with the applications for funding a preliminary engineering report (PER) prepared by an engineer who is licensed by the State of Montana. A well-crafted PER includes the following information:
- Why is the project needed?
- Demographic data and population trends.
- What alternatives did the community consider?
- What is the preferred alternative and how did the community come to select the preferred alternative?
- What will be the environmental impact of the proposed project?
- An estimated cost of the proposed project.
- The funding sources available to the project.
- A project budget along with a summary of how user rates will be affected.
A good PER also describes the community’s efforts to inform you about the project. With a PER, funding agencies assess the need for your project, confirm its eligibility for their funds, and base their decision to fund or not fund the application. Beyond funding, a PER is a valuable planning tool for communities to evaluate their systems and identify solutions for ensuring reliable, affordable, and resilient services and planning for the future.