Liquid fuels buffer designed to help with emergencies

Natural disasters can spawn great need.

For municipal governments, that can often mean washed-out roads and damaged bridges.

Warren County officials are developing a way to help.

The funding would come from the county’s liquid fuels allocation. Each municipality receives an allotment of liquid fuels money directly from the state based on its road mileage and also receive an additional allocation from the county.

County Planner Dan Glotz explained to the Council of Governments that the county’s allocation is used to inspect locally-owned bridges over 20 feet long on a biennial basis. He said the county derives a formula to distribute the portion of the funding that is given to the municipalities and builds in a financial buffer, currently approximately $30,000, “just in case liquid fuels dollars fluctuate each year.”

Noting that Erie County has a similar arrangement, Glotz said that the county is in the process of developing program guidelines to use that buffer as an emergency fund. The county’s buffer has a cap that it cannot exceed.

“If we have a storm event that washes out a bridge (or) damages a bridge or roadway, this funding could assist the municipality in the repair,” he explained.

While funding for an entire emergency project likely won’t come from this fund, Glotz said a “percentage of the project would come from this funding.”

Warren County Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco, Chief Clerk Pam Matve and Glotz are slated to serve on the committee. Glotz approached both COG and the Warren County Planning and Zoning Commission for volunteers to serve on the committee.

From COG, Mead Township Supervisors Al Fox and David Wholeben volunteered to serve.

The committee will meet on an as needed basis, according to Glotz. The role of the committee would be to “sort out and rank those projects in the events like the natural disasters,” he said. “It’s a nice way to help out the municipalities.”