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Franklin could get more CDBG funds

February 06, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has informed Franklin County that its share of Community Development Block Grant funds will not be less than the $402,000 it received for 2008 and it could be much higher depending on what is in the federal stimulus package now before Congress.

Any additional money, however, could come with additional strings that could tie the hands of the Board of County Commissioners.

On Thursday, the board reviewed the applications for CDBG funding totaling $1.2 million, including a $750,000 request from Mercersburg, Pa., to replace water and sewer lines and the sidewalk on East California Street. Dan Wolfe of the county Planning Department said the request is for the funding to be spread over three years.

Wolfe also said Mercersburg will be seeking a competitive CDBG grant directly from DCED, a separate pool of which municipalities can apply. The county's CDBG funding is an annual entitlement.

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However, new guidelines could remove some of the autonomy the county has had in deciding how the money is spent, Wolfe said. If a project is approved for a competitive CDBG grant by the state, he said, 75 percent of the county's allocation would have to go to that project, as well.

"That could tie the hands of the commissioners in future allocations," Commissioner Bob Thomas said. That could also mean the county will more closely scrutinize municipal competitive grant applications before passing them on to DCED.

Indian Lake Camp Corp. in Fannettsburg, Pa., requested $442,000 to replace water mains and for modifications to the water system well house, he said. Indian Lake has received $699,000 in CDBG funding since 2000, including $300,000 for a water tower, he said.

The Dry Run Water Authority requested $81,588 to cover cost overruns on water system improvements, Wolfe said. The authority received $470,000 for the project between 2001 and 2006, he said.

Greencastle, Pa., asked for $52,000 to make 35 handicapped accessible curb ramps along Baltimore Street, Wolfe said.

Two other requests were made without specific dollar figures attached, Wolfe said.

Quincy Township asked for continuing funding on a waterline project on Furnace Road that previously received a $50,000 grant.

Letterkenny Township asked for matching funding for a 2007 competitive CDBG grant of $350,000 for a sewer line project between Mount Pleasant, Pa., and Upper Strasburg, Pa. The money would assist low- and moderate-income residents in paying for laterals and hook-up fees, Wolfe said.

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