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Grant administrator helps Morgan County find funds for projects

February 20, 2011|By TRISH RUDDER | trishr@herald-mail.com
  • As grant administrator for Morgan County, Carol York stays alert for grant-funding opportunities to help benefit countywide projects in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
By Trish Rudder/Staff Writer

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — About $3 million in grant funding has helped Morgan County projects become a reality, and much of that has been with the help of the county grant administrator, Carol York.

York joined the county office as a part-time employee, but it was soon learned that her job required full-time status “because of the need,” she said.

The Morgan County Commission saw the benefit of having a full-time resource, she said. She began working full time as grant administrator about a year ago.

“If you don’t play, you can’t win. You have to participate in the grant process to get funding,” she said.

York is managing about 40 active grants for the county, including reimbursement costs of rebuilding the new courthouse, security equipment for the courthouse, solar electricity equipment for the courthouse roof, and a geothermal system for the courthouse heating and cooling system.

She works with community organizations such as Morgan County Parks and Recreation, Great Cacapon (W.Va.) and Paw Paw (W.Va.) volunteer fire departments, the Humane Society of Morgan County, Cacapon State Park Foundation and the Morgan County Rescue Service in developing and submitting grants.

She monitors the grants in the works to keep them on schedule, such as the Paw Paw Bends rail-trails project. One is a $393,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant that was approved in 2009; the other is a $90,000 Recreational Trails grant that is pending.

York also is awaiting approval for a $50,000 grant for heart monitors for the Morgan County Rescue Service.
“These are all projects that benefit the citizens of Morgan County,” she said.

York doesn’t just find grant funding for county government.

“She has helped the entire community with the grant process,” Commissioner Brenda J. Hutchinson said.

Her background and understanding of the grant processes have helped the county put measures in place to improve the checks and balances involving grant funding.

In December, the Morgan County Partnership learned that it had overspent about $20,000 in grant funding that began with its start-up grant in 2006, and the funds are being repaid to the county.

York said the overspending occurred when reimbursement funds from the state agency were reduced because some of the expenditures did not fully meet the grant requirements.

“Some parts of invoices would not be fully reimbursed, and that was the problem,” York said.

If an expenditure is denied and not reimbursed, it must be researched quickly to learn where the problem is to try to get it rectified, she said.

As grant administrator, York has put controls in place to make sure grants are not overspent.

Because of her knowledge of how the grant process works, York was asked by the West Virginia Courthouse Improvement Authority Board to give a presentation on how to effectively manage grant processes.

York shared her knowledge Feb. 7 at the West Virginia Association of Counties’ annual meeting in Charleston.

The two key components in getting grant funding are to understand your needs and to define the projects, she said.

Grant seekers “need to define their project,” York said.

York has worked in business for the past 40 years, and her background includes eight years as a vice president with First Data Corp., where she worked in managing systems and operations projects.

She has been a Morgan County resident for more than 19 years.

As grant administrator, York “could be working seven days a week” identifying funding opportunities for community needs, she said.

“There is so much out there. Billions of dollars are available, but it takes a lot of effort and research to find the right funding opportunity that supports the need,” York said.

“I wanted to do something to help the county, and bring real tangible benefits to the citizens and visitors,” she said.

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