A number of local projects up for grant funding were ranked in meetings Wednesday with the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
In the afternoon, a meeting was held in which commissioners ranked the three submitted local projects for possible funding through the Community Block Development Grant (CDBG).
It was previously reported that Highland County was allocated $124,000, and after administrative and fair housing fees, would have $99,200 to fund up to three projects.
According to commissioners on Wednesday, applications were received for three projects: paving of Greenfield’s Massie Street, sidewalk improvements at Hillsboro’s pedestrian bridge on North High Street, and an electric and equipment upgrade for Mowrystown’s waste water treatment plant.
Part of the discussion was in regard to requested funds from the municipalities and the matching funds offered. Greenfield’s total project amount is $60,600. The village is requesting half that amount through CDBG and matching the rest of the project’s funding. Hillsboro’s total project amount is $63,100 and the city is requesting $55,600 through CDBG. Mowrystown’s total project amount is $62,500 and the village is looking for full project funding.
Greenfield’s Massie Street paving project was ranked as number one, with commission board president Shane Wilkin adding that not only is the village putting up half the funding, but the project has been applied for at least two previous years, and with each passing year the street becomes more deteriorated and the cost to repair it rises.
Commissioners Tom Horst and Jeff Duncan were in agreement.
Discussion on how to allot the remaining $68,900 included the merits of both the Hillsboro and Mowrystown projects, which turned to financial matters of the latter.
Wilkin read a narrative attached to Mowrystown’s application stating that “village funds are being depleted” due to the constant repairs needed at the waste water treatment plant. The pumps at the pump station, he said, have been rebuilt three times since 2008 and are in the process of being rebuilt a fourth time.
Wilkin said in consulting on the problem with Environmental Engineering Services, which the county has used for Rocky Fork Lake’s sewer system, the Mowrystown issue is that the “electric and the pumps aren’t quite meshing,” which causes the pumps to burn out.
Wilkin said his concern was that Mowrystown is struggling financially and the county has previously had to advance money to the village to cover sewer fixes.
Duncan made a motion to rank Mowrystown the number two project, pending more input from engineers on a permanent fix at the village’s sewer plant. The motion also included ranking the Hillsboro project third. Additionally, the motion included a stipulation that, based on what was learned in the meantime, ranking and the amount of funding for a project could change by the June 1 second public hearing on the matter.
On Wednesday morning, the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC) held its second round caucus that saw the ranking of three projects in the county for funding consideration through the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Commission members voted to rank Highland District Hospital’s proposed project for a cardiac monitoring equipment upgrade for the emergency department as number one. The number two project chosen was Greenfield’s transloading facility that would create a rail spur between South Washington and South Second streets, opening up shipping options for local businesses. A project to expand Turning Point was ranked third.
The projects were scored accordingly and in June will come up for review and ranking with all regional projects before being submitted to the state in July.
The Highland County Board of Commissioners meets each Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 119 Gov. Foraker Pl., Hillsboro. The meetings are open to the public.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.