Last updated: June 24. 2014 11:58AM -
By Megan Kennedy mkennedy@civitasmedia.com

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GRATIS — At a Thursday, June 19, Gratis Village Council meeting, Susan Laux of Mote and Associates discussed the beginning stages of Gratis’ Ada Doty project, made possible through the CDBG grant the village has received.

The Ohio Public Works funding round is set to begin. “There’s a three-year pipeline and you basically go in and then you work up through the pipeline to a point of consideration for funding,” said Laux.

Another village in the county, Eldorado, is also in the same process, but is balancing another project within their village, she said. Funding between the two projects for Eldorado has proved to be time consuming, and more expansive than the village had previously believed, as additions have been made to the project, causing the price tag to increase.

Because of this, Laux spoke with Preble County Engineer Kyle Cross, to ask him to “do a flip-flop and put the Gratis project in where this Eldorado project is, and Eldorado’s going to move back a couple of years because they’re not going to be ready to do their other project for a couple of years,” said Laux.

Cross said the voting committee is to decide the final outcome of the switch, however he believes there should be no issue. According to Laux, this change of time line for villages is common. The Village of Gratis’ projects include the Ada Doty Street and storm sewer phase two projects.

“We would combine all of that together, we would also include the Mack Street project, the waterline project, into that so you could use the money you’re putting towards Mack as part of your match, and get your percentages up so your application would score better,” said Laux.

The Village of Gratis will be asking for a $308,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission, as well as $17,000 in grant funding from the CDGB grant, however the village must gather $85,000 of their own monies.

Scored by Laux, the Village of Gratis currently has 71 points for their project thus far.

“Usually what happens is, the cutoff [for funding] is around 80 or 81 points; the county has some priority points where they give out five points to one application, 10 points to another application, and 15 points to a third application. Normally what they do is they look at applications’ scores, knowing it’ll take 80 or 81 points to be funded, they try to give those points to the different projects so they’ll be above that threshold line,” said Laux.

Laux said the Village of Gratis could potentially receive the 10 extra points to push the project over the threshold to a total of 81 points.

In other business, it was reported the EMS Department has switched to a new software system, and Mayor Kathy Lewis requested the department share the system’s passwords with council regarding scheduling and administrative information in the system.

The Utilities Department discussed a recent pipe burst in the sand filter, and council moved to approve the expenditure to repair the pipe. A recent incident left a fire hydrant in disrepair after a driver collided with it. The insurance company of the driver will be covering the cost of the replacement.

Financially, the village has seen very little change to their general fund, according to the Finance Department’s report.

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