By Kristin Rover
Clermont County has submitted several Community Development Block Grant projects for townships and villages in the county this year.
According to Annette Decatur, grant coordinator for the Department of Community and Economic Development, projects submitted include the septic rehab program project for the Clermont County Health District, the Fifth and Third street drainage improvement project for the village of Moscow, the alternative sentencing center project for the Alcohol and Drug Treatment program, and the Spring Street bridge replacement for the village of Bethel.
“CDBG grants are a vital resource and enable communities to make improvements and address needs that may never be realized due to budget cuts and lack of funds,” Decatur said.
Decatur said the allocation for grants this year is $432,000.
She said Community Development Block Grants are administered by the Office of Community Development, Ohio Development Services Agency.
“CDBG and HOME programs can fund a broad range of activities including economic development projects, street, water supply, drainage and sanitary sewer improvements, park acquisition improvements, demolition of unsafe structures, rehab of housing and neighborhood facilities,” Decatur said.
Decatur said the activities must be designed to primarily benefit low and moderate income people, aid in the elimination of slums and blight, or meet urgent needs of the community.
She said the number of projects that are awarded annually varies based on the funding requested for each project.
“The state now caps the number of allowable activities to four for communities with an allocation of $125,000 or more,” Decatur said.
Decatur said last year four projects were funded in Clermont County.
“Clermont County has utilized Community Development Block Grants to fund a variety of projects which have included improvements to local infrastructure, community facilities, park improvements, fire protection facilities, septic repair programs, just to name a few,” Decatur said.
Decatur said a public hearing is held in January or February each year to provide information about the programs and explain the program requirements.
“Community applications are generally due to the county by the first week in April for review,” Decatur said. “And selection of projects is completed by the end of May.”
She said the grants are scored by the staff using criteria that includes the number of low to moderate income residents benefiting from the project, the impact to public safety and health, matching funds that are provided by the community, and other factors.
“The staff makes a recommendation to the county commissioners on projects to be funded,” Decatur said.
Decatur said they submitted the projects to the state June 21.
“Funding cycles begin Sept. 1 with work completion dates of 15 months, or Dec. 31 of the following year,” Decatur said about the projects.