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Deadline nears for block grants

December 12, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Municipalities and public service organizations have until Jan. 9 to file applications for a share of more than $400,000 that Franklin County expects to receive in 2004 Community Development Block Grant funds, according to Sherri Clayton, a senior planner for the county.

If the past few years are an indication, the Board of County Commissioners again will give priority to water and sewer projects. This year, for example, the county allocated $200,000 to Quincy Township, Pa., to subsidize lateral connections to its new sewer system, $142,000 to Mont Alto, Pa., for water system improvements and $100,000 to Indian Lake Camp Corp. for improvements to the water system serving the Fannettsburg, Pa., area.

In the two previous years, the bulk of funding went to sewer and water projects, although housing rehabilitation and handicapped accessibility projects also received grants, according to county records.

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The total CDBG allocation for the county is not known at this time, but Clayton said the amount available for distribution will be more than $400,000. The 2003 allocation from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development was $491,325, and while the county can keep up to 18 percent to cover administration costs, Clayton said the figure for the current year was 10 percent.

Up to 15 percent of the funds can be allocated to public service projects for organizations with new or expanded services, she said.

Eligible projects may include, but are not limited to, sewer, water, street and sidewalk projects; constructing or rehabilitating affordable housing; and making public buildings handicapped accessible, according to planning department guidelines.

Projects must benefit mostly low- and moderate-income people as determined by a community survey. The planning department provides surveying assistance free of charge, according to the guidelines.

The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public meeting Jan. 22 at 10 a.m. to consider a budget for the 2004 appropriation. The board will hold a public hearing to take verbal or written comments of the proposed budget Feb. 12 at 10 a.m.

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