Council receives update on grants
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD — Jim Holz from MSA Professional Services made a return visit Monday evening to let the Winfield City Council know that the grant applications that were discussed at the last council meeting for water, storm, and sewer surveys are ready to be sent in.
The council members present voted unanimously to send in the applications for the three grants.
“We talked last time about the USDA Rural Development and what they call ‘search grants’ that will pay for up to $30,000 for utility studies as a 100-percent grant,” Holz said.
Holz informed the council that each of the three grant applications has the total requested amount under the $30,000 cap, so if approved, the grant would be completely funded. Holz estimated it would be roughly three months before learning if the city received the grants.
“The first two that I submitted have been funded, I just found that out last week,” said Holz. “Those were submitted back in March, so if we figure on that same timeline we are looking at three months before we find out, and I will stay in touch with them to see what our status is.”
Holz did inform the council that there is a possibility of the grant money running out before the applications are approved, and if this happens the city has a couple of options available.
“If they come back and say it isn’t going to be funded we would come back and talk about the merits of going ahead anyway if you want to pay for that yourself,” said Holz. “There are also ways of reducing the cost. We went ahead and put full-blown studies in there since you will want to maximize the use of those funds, but there are things in there that if you don’t get the grant you can cut back the scope.”
Holz also assured the city that by sending in the application the city is not committing to undertaking the surveys if the grant doesn’t get approved.
Also during the meeting, the council voted to approve a 4-percent raise for all city employees.
“I talked to the county auditors at their meeting and the county is going to do 4 percent,” said Mayor Chris Finnell. “They have a panel that goes out and looks at the jobs and the areas around here and what they are paying and that is how they came up with their number. I think we should align ourselves with the rest of the county and if the supervisors are going to do 4 percent, I think we should too.”
During the police report, Police Chief Jeff Dietrich informed the council that the ban on pitbulls is working a little too well.
“We had a few pitbull complaints, so I sent a few letters and apparently one of the dogs has been moved out of town,” Dietrich said. “I’ve been informed that it has been found abandoned out in the county.”
Dietrich said the other pitbull complaints have gone away after the letter went out.
The council also approved a cigarette permit for Casey’s General Store and set the date for the new shelter house ribbon-cutting for June 21.