The borough of Tamaqua recently held a public hearing to discuss the reallocation of funds from the 2008, 2009, and 2011 Community Development Block Grant Program. Six sources of funds were brought to the table, totaling $114,433.60. At a previous council meeting, Borough Manager Kevin Steigerwalt had brought up the unused funds, explaining that the scope of the original projects may have changed, or the project itself may have been deemed unfeasible by the time funds became available.
One example is the $34,515 that was allocated in 2009 for parking lot improvements at the Tamaqua Community Center. Last year, Council decided to put the building up for sale and decided not to proceed with the improvements. The new plan is to use $32,854 for demolition and the additional $1661 for improvements to the Swatara Creek sanitary sewer project. Other projects include $20,587.90 in 2008 and $30,000 in 2009 for the Wabash Creek improvements. The updated proposal is to apply those funds to the Swatara Street sewer project as well. In 2008, $20763.70 was applied to a roof project at the Tamaqua Public Library. These funds will be reallocated for the pool water slide project. The remaining balance for the 2011 funds includes $6,567 for demolition, which will be reallocated to the paving of Owl Creek Road, and $2000 from the pool water slide project, which will be reallocated to the North Ward Playground for a roof project. The reallocation from the 2011 demolition project was necessary because the borough exceeded the maximum percentage of funds that could be allocated to demolition.
Council approved all of these reallocations and the borough will submit the proposal to DCED, who will need to approve the changes, as well, before the funds can be disbursed. "We are at their mercy," said Steigerwalt. "I believe these reallocations make some sense," said Councilman Dan Evans, who added that "The sentiment that we've gotten from the State is that we should clean up these balances and basically get a little more current." He said that he hopes the proposal will have the balances exhausted within six to eight months.