Metcalfe County Fiscal Court: CDBG Concerns
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At the regularly scheduled February 23 meeting of the Metcalfe County fiscal court, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was the main topic of discussion. The grant pertains to the future of Pennington Stave and Cooperage.
A resolution for the Procurement Standards for the project was presented. Magistrate Ronnie Miller questioned whether or not they had done this resolution before. Judge/Executive Harold Stilts explained that it was for the industrial authority project and that these types of resolutions are a requirement for almost all projects completed by the county.
A motion to approve was made by Magistrate Miller and seconded by Magistrate Kenny Scott. It was agreed upon unanimously.
The next item pertaining to the CDBG project was for Fair Housing. A motion to approve was made by Magistrate Scott, and seconded by Magistrate Donnie Smith, and was agreed upon unanimously, as was a resolution for residential anti-displacement and relocation assistance which was introduced as well. A motion to approve was made by Magistrate Kevin Crane and seconded by Magistrate Miller, with all voting yes.
The controversial resolution on the table was the CDBG project costs for the County Industrial Park Improvement Project.
Stilts explain to the court his trepidations.
According to Stilts, the project’s estimated cost was $1.6 million with $1 million coming from CDBG. The ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) funding would be to cover $600,000 of overrun costs, but if those funds were unattainable, the resolution states that the fiscal court would then become responsible for any costs beyond the initial million dollars.
“I cannot commit other funds, and wouldn’t commit other funds,” said Stilts.
“I share your concerns Judge, if ARC doesn’t cover the balance but we have no reason to think they wouldn’t. We would have to find another avenue if ARC would not provide additional funding. That avenue could be for getting the project all together,” said Matt South, Chairman of the Industrial Board.
“I was thinking that ARC was already on board, but I looked through my records and found that we applied for it, but they are not already on board,” said Stilts.
According to South, the ARC funding is waiting in the wings pending the approval of the CBDG grant, and he had been told it was approximately a 60 day waiting period.
However, according to what Stilts was told, they may be required to apply again in October.
“I do not want to commit the county to something that they will have to pay, and maybe not get reimbursed way down the road. The county is suffering right now and everybody knows, now we have several things to cover and take care of. We are running tight,” Stilts said.
Magistrate Miller asked if they could put a limit on the dollar figure, and Stilts replied that they are saying it could be up to $600,000 of funding.
“Is it a pretty sure thing Matt?” Miller asked.
South replied that according to what he had been told, but that Judge Stilts has presented new information he was unaware of. However, he stated he felt it was a certainty.
The motion was tabled.
In Other News
Former Court Clerk Carol Chaney returned to present the settlement for 2020, which is the final presentation she will be making to the court.
“I want to thank you all so much for working with my office, and you all have been so good to me,” Chaney said.
She returned $116,558 of excess fees paid to the county, for 2020, the largest she has ever returned to the court.
Emory Kidd and Stilts reported various estimates for labor and material to constrict a fence with a 16 ft. drive and 4 ft. walkthrough, with six strands of barbed wire.
Miller asked if they could legally get the FFA boys or basketball team to do the labor, but Stilts and Kidd both said there would be too much liability involved with such.
A discussion was also had about the potential of the county and city splitting costs.
A motion was made to approve the purchase of fencing materials from Stephen’s Pipe and Steal. The motion carried.