The Casper-owned LifeSteps Campus will get a new heating system in one of its buildings after city council allocated left-over federal funds to it last week.

The city has received Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in recent years, but has not used all the money, said Liz Becher, the city's community development director.

"Washington, D.C., told us that we need to get this money expended," Becher said.

In other words, use it or lose it.

"They told us that a year ago, so we have been working to put this project together on the LifeSteps Campus, and that has taken a good year ... because we've had to go out and get bids, follow all of HUD protocol, and go through this entire process," she said.

This building houses the Health Care for the Homeless clinic, residences for low-income families and individuals, and services for residents, Becher said. "The opportunity to take some of our federal funds and apply it to this campus, this fabulous facility for our low- to moderate-income population is great."

The Casper Housing Authority intends to expand these services, she said. "This heating system is critical to getting those projects accomplished."

The project will receive $379,365.

During councilmembers' comments before the vote to approve the transfer, Mayor Daniel Sandoval said the requirement to spend federal funding or lose it is a wasteful model for running a government.

Council members Charlie Powell and Steve Cathey said the city has been throwing good money after bad with repairs to the outdated heating system.

"The system has been patched for years," Cathey said.

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