Many support loan for Butte veterans’ home

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A roomful of veterans and their supporters asked a legislative committee Friday to approve a “bridge loan” of up to $10 million to help pay for construction of a new veterans’ home in Butte until the federal government comes up with its share of the money.

More than 20 people testified before the House Appropriations Committee in support of House Bill 493, by Rep. Ryan Lynch, D-Butte. Many wore their veterans’ caps and jackets.

It calls for the Montana Facility Financing Authority to provide the loan, secured with the federal funding commitment and an extension of a set-aside of the state tobacco tax. The construction loan would be paid back in full when U.S. Veterans Administration provides its share of the money.

Lynch said the federal government will pay 65 percent of the $15 million project, while the state has already come forward with its $5 million share. The facility already has been designed to go on a 10-acre parcel of land donated by Don Harrington. The Butte-Silver Bow local government has used part of its share of hard-rock mining taxes to prepare the water and sewer connections.

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