Highland County officials are preparing to reallocate a portion of funding available from an $844,000 federal economic development grant for the Rocky Fork Lake area, and hope to soon submit a revised budget to the U.S. Department of Justice for the full amount of the grant.
The grant, awarded in 2016 by a division of the Justice Department, was discussed during a Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Shane Wilkin said the county is making preparations to reallocate some of the roughly $60,000 in grant funds designated for law enforcement which remain available for use.
Wilkin said after the meeting that “we have all the numbers we need to reallocate,” but more review must take place before officials decide where to reallocate funds.
Wilkin said the county hopes to soon submit a budget for the full $844,000, a step recommended by DOJ officials after the grant stalled out last year due to the department’s concerns about management responsibilities and internal controls.
After a face-to-face meeting in Washington, D.C. between Wilkin, Commission Clerk Nicole Oberrecht and DOJ staff, Wilkin said department officials offered additional assistance in implementing the grant and asked that the county submit a revised budget and request an extension for application.
According to Wilkin, officials are still discussing what to do with the portion of the grant earmarked for the county land bank. Wilkin said the land bank can use grant dollars for administrative costs, but not for purchasing property, since the federal government would have interest in any purchased land. Wilkin said the county is also looking at hiring a nuisance abatement officer.
In other business, Wilkin said the state has released $26,000 in grant funding for the county’s pre-sentence investigations after previously discontinuing it.
Commissioner Terry Britton said Highland County may receive a third payment from the state to recoup sales tax revenue lost due to a federal law change. As previously reported, the state doled out two payments totalling more than $1 million to Highland County after a federal directive prohibited counties and transit authorities from collecting sales tax on medical supplies purchased with insurance. Britton said he’s not sure when the third payment might be approved or how much it might be.
Britton said the county recently received a proposed agreement from the City of Hillsboro regarding maintenance of a fountain to be placed near the courthouse. Britton said Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins is reviewing it.
Commissioner Jeff Duncan said the county will replace the courthouse roof in August, and nearby trees will have to be trimmed. Duncan the county is also waiting on estimates for tree trimming at the Hi-Tec Center.
Britton also said the board received a letter of interest from Tracy Reveal regarding a seat on the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board left empty by former Highland County Probation Department Director Jeremy Ratcliffe, who resigned recently. Britton said the board has reached out to Gary Breeden, who was named probation director last week, and Tonya Sturgill, the probation department’s new director of clinical services, about being named to the ADAMH board. Britton said the commissioners are waiting to hear back from both before taking further action.
Britton said a veterans job fair will be held from 1-3 p.m. June 29 at the Hi-Tec Center June 29.
The board also approved routine financial resolutions and contracts.
Later in the morning, the commissioners voted to vacate Van B Lane and Carroll Lane after viewing both roads.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.
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