County sees increase in grant

Things were looking pretty dire for Community Development Block Grant funds in Warren County because the sequester might reduce funding by 8 percent and rumors later called for funds to be cut in half.

But instead of going down, the 2013 CDBG funds were increased by $500.

“Usually it’s been going down,” said County Grants administrator Lorri Dunlap on Tuesday. “It’s quite a surprise.”

CDBG funds have dropped significantly from a high of $287,715 in 2010 to $227,753 in 2013.

The funds typically go towards infrastructure improvements, including water sewer lines and new municipal systems that are good for the environment, resale and future development, said Dunlap.

This year’s allocation of $227,753 has been proposed by the Warren County Commissioners for six projects in the county. They are:

$88,500 for the reconstruction of School Street/Terrace Haven in Clarendon Borough

$30,000 for reconstruction of Johnson Street in Tidioute Borough

$42,000 for sidewalk reconstruction for eligible single-family dwellings throughout Tidioute Borough

$12,500 for handicap accessibility to the Spring Creek Township building

$19,753 for professional services of a civil engineer for assistance to county or municipalities with CDBG-funded projects

$35,000 for administration of the CDGB program that includes advertisements, public notices and environmental reviews.

CDBG-funded programs have been received well throughout the county and “it’s helped many, many projects in the county over the years,” said Dunlap.

A public hearing for public remarks on the proposed CDBG projects will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 in the Jackson Courtroom on the second floor of the Warren County Courthouse.

Sometime after the public meeting the commissioners will have to pass a resolution supporting the application for the projects which has to be sent in by Sept. 6, according to Dunlap. Then it’s a waiting game for the funds, which typically takes two to three months.

“Usually these projects are slated for the 2014 construction season,” she said.

“As I’ve repeatedly said, these funds in the ten years I’ve been in office, we’ve been able to accomplish a great deal with them, they’ve been well used and very efficiently used,” said Commissioner John Eggleston last week. “We’ve been able to do something in areas that we probably would not have been able to do those and this is one of those government programs that I think around the country that has done a tremendous amount of good without really costing – the amount of money in there is equivalent to a few Abrams tanks the Pentagon doesn’t need. And I hope that going forward our representatives will keep this in the budget.”