Mahoning Township supervisors participated in the first annual hearing for their Community Development Block Grant funding for fiscal year 2013 as well as a hearing to revise the funding for 2012. The hearing was conducted by Carbon County Director of Planning and Development Judy Borger.
"Mahoning Township was awarded $46,444 in fiscal year 2011 by the County Commissioners to resurface Beaver Street which resulted in us conducting a survey of the street to make sure it was eligible. Both the eligibility and fundability have been met," said Borger.
She mentioned that the next step was to determine the cost of the doing the entire project so the township engineer prepared costs and determined the total project including drainage, milling, paving and related sewer work would cost $86,000. While this was happening, Mahoning learned it was an entitlement community as of the 2010 census and the ten year period would begin in fiscal year 2012.
According to Borger the entitlement provided the township with $67,427 in fiscal year 2012 which at that time was dedicated to resurfacing Westside Drive. Last summer she sent a letter to the township asking they wait to do Beaver Street until 2013 so that they could use the funding from 2011 and partial funding of 2012 to cover the entire $86,000 cost for the project. The township agreed and voted last August to hold off until this year.
Because of the agreement to wait a year, the township will use the 2011 funding plus part of the 2012 funding to cover the full project cost and then use the $27,871 toward the Westside Drive resurfacing . After discussing these revisions, Borger then told supervisors they will receive approximately $82,227 for work this year. That amount could vary depending on the Federal government's actions with the sequestration. Of that amount, $14,800 would apply to administration costs for the grant including preparing the grant applications, overseeing the funding and administering the grants. The remaining $67,427 would be used for whatever projects the township designates for its use.
A member of the audience who didn't identify themselves asked who oversaw the grant or received the administrative portion of the entitlement. Borger said that her office receives that portion for the work mentioned above.
Borger reminded the supervisors the project must benefit low to moderate income individuals who must comprise 51 percent of the target recipients of such improvements. Second, the funding can be used to address slums or blights. Finally, the funding must be used to remedy an urgent community development need. She told supervisors an application must be submitted by last Friday and at some point in April or May a second hearing would be held.
Chairperson John Wieczorek asked Borger about specific project ideas. "We are in the last phase of constructing a pole barn to move our road crew out of this building and we are looking to renovate this [building]. We want to bring the police downstairs, make the restrooms accessible and expand the office and meeting room. Could this funding be used?"
Borger said that It could not unless the township was providing handicapped accessibility and only that renovation would be covered. Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt said the plan included moving the police downstairs which makes them handicapped accessible. "Why wouldn't that qualify?"
Borger responded by saying she would not know for sure until the township provided some general plan she could use to ask such questions from her counterparts in the state. For the moment though she said it was important to submit an application by last Friday for some project adding that the application could be revised later if needed.
There were no further questions so Borger adjourned the hearing stating the next one would be held in late April or early May.