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Milltown to apply for Community Crossings dollars

Milltown to apply for Community Crossings dollars Milltown to apply for Community Crossings dollars
Chris Adams, Contributing Writer

The Milltown Town Council, at its Jan. 11 meeting, approved applying for Community Crossings Matching Grant Program funding.

Bob Woosley of Heritage Engineering, who earlier prepared a roadway Asset Management Plan required for the town to be eligible, said the state has announced the next round of grant funding availability.

Under the program, town, city and county governments are eligible for 75% of a road project’s funding, although they must have 100% of the funds available in order to apply.

“It is a competitive process, so you’re not guaranteed to get it, but, hopefully, since the town has never applied for one before, that might bode well,” Woosley said.

Applications were due Jan. 29, and to proceed, the council, in the form of a letter, needed to identify the roads it wants to pave and from where the funding match will come.

Woosley said it wasn’t necessary for the council to identify the roads that evening, as Jerry Mackey, the board’s president, could be given the authority to sign the letter outside of the meeting, but it needed to determine the dollar amount that the town would request.

“I would encourage you, if there’s some roadways that you would like to improve and pave, this is a great opportunity,” Woosley said.

The council decided to apply for no more than $100,000 so that its 25% match would be between $20,000 and $25,000, with the town’s share coming from its Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road and Street accounts and other funds as needed.

Following a motion by Justin Barnes that was seconded by Jean Melton, the council voted 3-0 to allow Mackey to sign the funding commitment letter outside of the meeting.

Woosley also gave a brief update on the new wastewater treatment plant project. He noted that Mitchell and Stark Construction started mobilization the prior week and the project foreman was expected to be on-site that week to begin layout work.

“Next week they should start seeing some dirt being turned. They should start seeing some real construction,” he said.

In another matter, the council approved resident Bill Byrd, Melton and town manager Josh Breeding attending the Crawford County Board of Commissioners and Council meetings the next day to request funding assistance for the wastewater treatment project.

Byrd said the town has previously approached county officials about funding but that he hoped this time would be different, noting a commissioner last year assured him the board would be willing to provide $20,000.

A funding commitment from Crawford County would be significant, Byrd said, as the Harrison County Council — the town is in both counties — repeatedly has indicated it would be willing to provide financial assistance only it Crawford County chipped in.

(At the meetings the next day, the Crawford County commissioners, while acknowledging the verbal agreement, said the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant negative effect on the county budget and the county and, therefore, isn’t able to provide funding.)

In other business, the council learned from Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Lutz:

She and Mackey attended the exit conference with the State Board of Accounts for the 2019 audit on Dec. 17. Lutz said the town’s official response and corrective action plan was due on Jan. 15. Normally those are due 10 days following the exit conference, but the town was given an extension due to the holidays, she said.

Lutz added that accounting records have been corrected per a resolution previously adopted by the council. She said a variance of $12,338.48 remains in the Sewage Utility Operating fund.

Three claims submitted for reimbursement from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act have been approved. Two are for money spent on personal protective equipment in the amount of $648, while the other, for $15,222, is for public safety salaries. The latter pretty much can be used for whatever the council chooses, Lutz said.

Asked if the council wanted to increase the sewer deposit from one month ($100) to three months ($300). It was noted that other area utilities have done so.

Barnes said the law has changed and landlords no longer have to pay an outstanding bill, when a renter leaves without paying, to have the utility turned back on.

Town attorney David Hutson said he will review the matter to determine if a resolution or ordinance is needed to increase the deposit.

Earlier in the meeting, the council organized for 2021. Following a nomination by Melton that was seconded by Barnes, Mackey was renamed president. Melton, after a motion by Barnes that was seconded by Mackey, was then reappointed vice president.

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