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Toledo touted for effective infrastructure management

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The City of Toledo found itself the subject of accolades during an annual conference of The Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council held in Wenatchee the week of Sept. 30.

Attended by Toledo City Council Member Nate Cook, he returned to the council's regular meeting on Oct. 6 and shared how, when it came to examples of cities with effective approaches to infrastructure, Toledo was touted as an example to follow.

"I cannot tell you how proud I was that I was there," he said, describing how Toledo was among three communities mentioned during a keynote address by Washington Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon, the other two being small tribal communities.

Toledo has recently been successful in pursuing grants from both state and local entities for the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant, expected to be completed next spring, having acquired $6.4 million last year toward the estimated total cost of $9.6 million for the plant.

They were also more recently awarded $725,000 from the Department of Commerce to fully fund the construction of a new water tower, expected to begin toward the middle of next year.

"We are doing really well," said Cook, encouraging officials to thank and congratulate city staff for their work toward acquiring the grants. "We did good, and we got a lot of attention for it from the entire state."

Mayor Jerry Pratt echoed Cook's call to give credit to city employees, stating they have put a lot of effort into preparing and submitting successful grant applications.

"It's more our department heads than me.," he said of his staff leaders, telling Cook he was grateful a Toledo representative was able to be at the conference.

Cook also informed council members of efforts by a Shelton-based coalition to challenge un-funded infrastructure mandates being passed by state legislators, saying the group is looking for the support of additional cities in order to hire a lobbyist to represent them.

The council expressed interest in joining the coalition, at an estimated cost of $500 per year, and are expected to discuss the matter during their next meeting.

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