The Warren County Commissioners asked for public input for potential Community Development Block Grant projects during their Wednesday morning meeting.
Grants Administrator Lorri Dunlap said during a public hearing that the county anticipates a 2013 Community Development Block Grant of nearly $270,000 and has notified municipalities asking for project proposals.
"CDBG dollars primarily are to be used to benefit a low- to moderate-income population, and that income level is determined by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). It can also be used to address blight, blighted structures and public safety for threats" such as a road washed out during a flood, Dunlap said.
Examples of project that can be used with CDBG funds include the purchase and sale of properties, demolition of blighted properties, parks, schools, libraries, senior centers, new or replacement water and sewer lines, sidewalks or streets, activities that will create jobs, planning projects such as mapping and "services that also benefit presumed or predominately low- and moderate-income persons" she said.
A second public meeting will be held once projects have been selected, Dunlap said.
The commissioners also discussed the fiscal report, when Toby Rohlin, fiscal director, reported the total cost of court-appointed lawyers covered under the county operations was $16,850 for August.
"They budgeted $73,000 for this year, it looks like they'll run in excess of $100,000," Rohlin said.
"They pretty much consumed their budget for this year at this point," he said. "You will have to decide what you want to do about this. You could suggest, and point this out to them, they take money from other line items in their budget and use that to cover the over on the court-appointed section. But it remains to be seen if they are going to have that much extra money, so to speak."
"I think we should consider having a conference with the judiciary relative to these expenses," Commissioner John Bortz said. "This is something that I have been looking at throughout the year and this is not a new situation for us. We have been expending these types of dollars for the past several years. I have to believe we can come together and create some sort of creative solution to this to possibly mitigate these expenses."
"I will take this under consideration and say we have amongst us addressed this issue of attorney's fees, mostly through court appointed, and has been an issue here and for human services also. So if we can get a handle on it, it would certainly help," Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco said.
The commissioners also approved an agreement between the Warren County Transit Authority, Experience Inc., and the county that will allow TAWC to make up for a shortfall in operating matching funds for one year.
TAWC is currently required to contribute $34,699 per year in local matching funds, according to the agreement, a portion of which is made up of funds from municipalities and advertising revenue.
"Whereas, a shortfall currently exists, and it is anticipated that shortfall will continue to exist, in the amount of local matching funds that First Party has available to contribute to satisfy its annual local match requirement," the agreement says.
Experience Inc., agreed to continue to lease the second floor of the Allegheny Community Center and allocate the funds towards TWAC's operations.
"This is a way to get local match, it comes to us and we give it back to the TAWC," Commissioner John Eggleston said. "It's a way of covering their local match without requiring general fund dollars."