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County must pay back $16,000 to state

Warren County will be required to pay back over $16,000 in ineligible expenses from the county’s federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

The agreement was approved 2-0 by Warren County Commissioners Jeff Eggleston and Ben Kafferlin on Wednesday. Commissioner Cindy Morrison was not at the meeting.

“Basically, the county CDBG money went to pay some attorneys for blight review and the project stalled before demolition,” Kafferlin said. “From the county’s perspective, the blight was remediated. (We) thought everything was fine. The state felt differently.”

“As a consequence,” the state Department of Community and Economic Development found the expenditures “ineligible.”

He outlined the consequence: The state wants the county to repay $16,303 — a little over $5,000 per year from the general fund or another funding source into CDBG funds “to be still used for the same CDBG purposes.”

Eggleston noted that the project “didn’t necessarily stall” but said that the “properties were transferred to the RDA (Redevelopment Authority)” and noted the pot of funds was to be used “specifically for demolition.”

He noted that the properties were “remediated through other owners.”

“From the county’s perspective, it was remediating the blight. They’re being a little bit critical of the regulations… (I) wouldn’t say it was a huge error.

“Either way, the money is going to address blight.”

Kafferlin said this agreement is “going to force us to do something we were already planning on doing” as the county’s budget was to include $5,000 for addressing blight.

He said the agreement is “not a big deal.”

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