Demand for grants great — but actual funding, not so much
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel-Tribune Editor
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 09:30
Local communities hungry for grant money found the pot less plentiful again this year.
|File photo. A view inside the Wood County courthouse. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Thirteen requests were submitted totaling $570,000 in Community Development Block Grants - but the county had only $164,260 to hand out this year. That's a $63,000 drop in funds just since last year.
"Each year the pot keeps shrinking," Dave Steiner, director of the county planning commission, said as he explained the grant requests. "We took a real hit."
Leaders from each community were given a chance to plead their cases. And PowerPoint photos showed the dire conditions of roads, sewers, and waterlines that towns are struggling to fix.
But only four towns went home with a promise of funding: Custar, Hoytville, North Baltimore and Walbridge. The planning commission's funding recommendation will be voted on by the county commissioners Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
Mayors and council members from several communities made their pitches, trying to convince the planning commission to support their grant requests.
Bradner Board of Public Affairs member Jim Smith said a section of his town has low water pressure because the waterlines are so old.
"The age of the system is WPA days and we're trying to bring that up to current times," Smith explained.
Milton Center Mayor Larry Richendollar said his town was in bad need of street repairs.
"We're a low income village," he said.
Hoytville Councilman Joe Hagemyer said his town's streets were suffering from the success of the CSX rail hub in nearby Henry Township. With township roads being blocked more often by trains, more traffic is going through Hoytville, he said.
The amount the village asked for was $51,390. "That represents our total budget for the year," Hagemyer said of the village.
Hagemyer pointed out that towns like Hoytville are not only facing shrinking grant funding, but also a dropping tax base as a result of home foreclosures.
"I beg of you," he said to the commission, "please consider the small villages."
Cygnet Mayor Nancy Myers explained that truck traffic through the village has damaged the narrow streets. "We're a small village. We're lower income. We can use all the help we can get," she said.
North Baltimore Village Administrator Kathy Healy said her town desperately needed funding to make the village hall and fire station accessible to people with disabilities.
"We're one of the largest villages in the county," yet the town polling place at the fire hall isn't ADA compliant. "We'd just like them to have access to their public facilities."
Northwood Municipal Administrator Bob Anderson said his city needed help reconstructing a storm sewer.
"We're in the same economic boat," as other communities, Anderson said.
Jerry Greiner, executive director of the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, made a pitch for help funding a sewer project to 35 homes in the unincorporated village of Rudolph, where the septic systems are failing.
Greiner said the Rudolph project will be unaffordable for the residents unless more grant funding is secured.
But Hagemyer said entities such as the water and sewer district have other options for funding - unlike his town.
"We need this," he said. "That end of the county is going to explode. We don't have the tax base. And all the grants and funding are disappearing."
Some types of projects carried more weight with some planning commission members.
Dick Kohring said he likes funding to go projects that improve safety in towns.
"I always put pavement last," he said.
In addition to presenting a convincing proposal, applicants also earned points with the planning commission just by showing up to Tuesday's meeting.
"I think it's important if they're asking for money that somebody is here," said Rob Black, a member of the commission. "I cannot support anybody who doesn't show up."
The only two entities to not have representatives at the meeting were WSOS Community Action Commission and Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Following are the projects that got the county planning commission's nod for CDBG funding:
• Custar - $44,438 to resurface Superior Street and rehabilitate 12 sanitary sewer manholes.
• Hoytville - $50,000 for widening, repairing and resurfacing East Church Street.
• Walbridge - $49,980 for installing 32 ADA compliant curb ramps along Main Street from Union Street to Elm Street to meet ADA standards.
• North Baltimore - $19,842 to help install ADA compliant curb ramp and automatic door operators at the municipal building.
Alternate projects that will rise to funding levels if the top projects fail to proceed:
• Jerry City - $46,835 for resurfacing on First, North, Dickson and Factory streets.
• Northwood - $50,000 to replace the trunk storm sewer that serves Goodrich Avenue, and resurfacing part of Harding Avenue.
Projects that failed to get funding approval were:
• Bradner - $50,000 for replacing water mains on Main Street.
• Cygnet - $45,000 for resurfacing and repairing Washington Street.
• Milton Center - $49,709 for resurfacing Sugar Street.
• Northwestern Water and Sewer District - $50,000 to put toward installation of sewer system for an unsewered area on Rudolph Road between Ohio 281 and Bays Road, that is under orders by the EPA.
• Rossford - $41,000 toward reconstruction of Roland Court and concrete curbs.
• WSOS Community Action Commission - $40,000 to provide utility assistance to 50 Wood County residents who are either veterans disabled workers or recently released inmates.
• Wood County Board of Development Disabilities - $16,178 to install a sidewalk and two ADA mats at Wood Lane School to minimize pedestrian traffic in the driveways.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 09:33