Casper City Council at a work session gave its informal support for the Town of Mills to apply for a state grant to build a water line.

If approved, the $170,248 grant from the State Lands and Investment Board would enable Mills to extend a water main in its growth areas near Chapman Road, the West Belt Loop and West Yellowstone Highway, public utilities manager Dave Hill said.

That area has been served with Casper water since the late 1940s, Hill said.

Over time, Mills has grown as has its water system, he said.

"The City of Casper currently has about 40 retail customers in the area which have been served by the City of Casper for many, many, many years, but they're located in the Town of Mills' growth boundary and always have been," Hill said.

If Mills receives the grant, which will be matched 50-50 by the town, city council will need to decide what to do with the existing line, he said.

"Negotiations will have to take place between the City of Casper and the Town of Mills in regards to the potential transfer of about 7,000 lineal feet of water main that's in this area," Hill said.

Councilman Steve Cathey said that issue needs to be settled before construction starts, and he asked whether the city should ask Mills to pay something for the line.

Councilmen Charles Powell and Dan Sandoval said the line has been fully depreciated and the city should give the line to Mills as a gesture of a good neighbor.

Those negotiations probably will begin next summer.