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Applications for block grants fall off in Franklin County

February 08, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - There were fewer applicants for less money Thursday as the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners held a public hearing for its 2008 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The Metal Township Municipal Authority, Quincy Township and the Val-Med Center in Dry Run, Pa., were the three applicants for the $402,000 available this year to the county for projects to benefit low- and moderate-income communities and the disabled. No representatives from any of the applicants were at the hearing.

As in recent years, the applicants reflected the commissioners' preference for bricks-and-mortar projects. Two of the projects are previous recipients of CDBG grants from the county.

"The idea is to make these outer communities more habitable" by improving sewer and water systems, Commissioner Bob Thomas said. Encouraging development where public utilities are available can discourage sprawl, he said.

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The Metal Township Municipal Authority received funding totaling $145,000 during the previous two years toward a $527,000 upgrade of its sewer system, said Dan Wolfe of the Franklin County Planning Office. The money this year would be used to add 29 homes in the village of Fannettsburg, Pa., to the sewer system, he said.

The authority did not request a specific amount of money, Wolfe said.

"Metal Township will take whatever we can give them to finish the project," Wolfe said. "That's $300,000 right there." The authority has received funding from other government sources as well, he said.

Quincy Township is asking for money to extend water service to 45 homes along Furnace Road, Wolfe said. It is a $350,000 project and previously had received CDBG funding of $50,000, he said.

The Val-Med Center is asking for $79,000 to install handicapped-accessible doors for a senior center in the building, along with a concrete basement floor and steel security door for a Salvation Army food pantry operated out of the building, Wolfe told the commissioners.

Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski questioned the estimate of $60,000 to pour a concrete slab in the basement of what had been the former Dry Run High School.

As a result of federal budget cuts in the CDBG program, the county's annual entitlement has been shrinking over the past few years. The county received $492,000 in 2004, Wolfe said.

A decision by the board on how the money will be spent is scheduled to be made Thursday, Feb. 21.

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