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Pa. groups seek $1.8 million in grants

February 08, 2006|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Municipal sewer and water projects once again dominated the list of funding requests to the Franklin County Planning Department for Community Development Block Grants, although the amount of federal money available continues to shrink.

Six requests, including two each for water and sewer projects, totaling $1.8 million were made to the county this year, which has $413,000 available, $65,000 less than in 2005, according to Community Planner Dan Wolfe.

"The major reason for the dropoff was the hurricanes that hit the southeast portion of the country," Wolfe said Tuesday at a public hearing on the requests before the Board of County Commissioners. Even before the hurricanes, he added, the federal government had planned a 10 percent cut in CDBG funding.

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The following requests for funding were received by the Planning Office:

  • $531,000 from the Metal Township Municipal Authority for an extension of its wastewater treatment system, which would add another 29 homes.

  • The Dry Run Water Association asked for $93,000 to complete and upgrade of its water system that was begun in 2003.

  • $940,400 from the Quincy Township Municipal Authority to correct what Supervisor Bob Gunder called "design deficiencies" to its Nunnery Road wastewater treatment plant.

  • $200,000 for the Mont Alto Municipal Authority to extend its water system on Furnace Road that would make sewer service available to 17 homes in the borough and Quincy Township.

  • Mercersburg requested $75,000 to complete replacement of the sidewalks on Fayette Street. Wolfe said the borough received $124,000 last year, but was unable to finish the work.

  • Franklin County Legal Services requested $22,850 to upgrade a part-time bilingual position to full time to serve the area's growing Hispanic community.



Wolfe said the planning office recommended to Quincy Township that its project be broken into three phases because its request is more than twice the available CDBG funding.

Attorney Phil Cosentino said Franklin County Legal Services had 33 new Spanish-speaking clients in December alone, demonstrating the need for more bilingual services.

In recent years, the county has allocated most of its CDBG money to water and sewer projects, reflecting the objectives of the county's comprehensive plan, Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said.

"We've invested in fewer projects, but larger projects," Elliott said.

Improving utilities in existing towns and villages, he said, helps encourage development in those areas, thus helping to preserve farmland and open space.

Wolfe said all the requests meet CDBG eligibility guidelines. The planning department will evaluate the projects and make recommendations to the board of commissioners Feb. 21.

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