Clarion Borough Hires Company to Write $500K Storm Water Grant
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Clarion Borough Council entered into a contract with Delta Development Group out of Mechanicsburg and will use Delta Development Group to apply for a $500,000.00 Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Grant.
The grant would actually be for $425,000.00 with a $75,000.00 match by the borough. The borough will pay Delta Development Group $10,000.00 to write and administer the grant, which the borough will be on the hook for whether or not the grant is approved.
LeRoy Kline, the President and CEO of Delta Development Group, sold the Council on the idea during a presentation at Tuesday’s Borough Council meeting.
“We had the opportunity to review a brochure that was actually put together by your Storm Water Authority in collaboration with the borough,” Kline said. “I was very impressed to see that you’ve identified pieces of your system that need to be improved over the next few years. So candidly we talked with the county and with members of your council about submitting a grant to try to provide resources for some of those improvements.”
Kline went on to say that the Borough’s $75,000.00 match could come from a project that the borough was already planning to do or was looking to do in the near future.
“You’re not spending money that you weren’t planning on spending,” Kline said. “What you are doing is using the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help fund some of the improvements associated with the project.”
The due date for the grant application is December 13, but because the borough already has projects it knows it needs to do, Kline didn’t anticipate any issues with submitting a grant application in that time frame.
When asked by councilwoman Rachel Roberts what the borough’s chances of getting the grant were -considering the borough would be responsible for the $10,000.00 fee to Delta Development Group no matter if it got received the grant or not – Kline said his experience and some other factors pointed to the borough having a very good chance at receiving the grant.
“I’ve been doing this for 31 years,” Kline said. “The reason I’ve been doing this for 31 years is because I only submit grant requests that I believe will be successful.”
Kline said there are outside factors that make him believe Clarion’s application will be successful.
“Clarion is in a unique position to enjoy future state funding for two reasons,” Kline said. “You have on the (Clarion) University Board of Trustees the number two person from the Department of Community and Economic Development who evaluates these grants, Neil Weaver. He’s a former Clarion graduate. He’s the Executive Deputy Secretary of DCED. I think he will be very supportive of Clarion’s request.
“The second reason I’m very confident is because of state representative (Donna) Oberlander. She is now in leadership – this program, so you know how it works: It’s a CFA program (Commonwealth Finance Authority). What that means is every Legislative Caucus must approve the project list that is submitted by DCED. If there is a single caucus that’s not comfortable with the recommended project list, it stops the whole process. It’s called a single vote veto. With (Oberlander’s) responsibilities and leadership, she will be one of the first individuals in the Commonwealth to review the projects that are recommended and has an opportunity through her leadership position to provide a direct impact on what projects are approved and those that are not.
“So, I think Clarion has a window of opportunity that it may not enjoy in the not too distant future. You have two people who I think will be very supportive of request.”
Councilman Ben Aaron said being able to apply for grants was one of the reasons the Storm Water Authority was created.
“(It was created) to find public monies to bring back to Clarion that have already left here,” Aaron said. “Hopefully (that money) would accelerate not so much the end of the of the Storm Water Authority but getting (the Storm Water fees) back down to maintenance levels and not the repair level.”
Todd Colosimo, of the Borough Treasurer and Project Manager, said the borough has identified five “medium to small” projects that the grant money could be used for.
“Pretty much some of the oldest (projects),” Colosimo said. “It’s a mixture of stuff that really needs done quickly and things that have been hanging around for a while.”
Five sites have been identified including Emerson Way, which Colosimo said is the borough’s critical project.
The other projects include Tippin Drive, Sunset Drive, Whitehill Place, and Boundary Street.
Kline pointed out that this could be the start of a much larger relationship between his company and the borough and gave Council members a list of many other possible grants that could be applied for during 2020.
“If you don’t remember anything else I say tonight, what I’d really like you to do is look at (the list of other grants) because it illustrates all of the state and federal programs that are available to do projects throughout the borough of Clarion,” Kline said.
“I think, for example, Clarion could be submitting a library grant to improve the library facility. I think you have opportunities for infrastructure improvements, for recreation improvements. Every one of these programs is a window for the borough. You may not be successful with all of them, and there are some on the list that we may not recommend because we think you might not be competitive.”
Outgoing Clarion Borough Mayor Bill Miller said he sees this as possibly being a long and fruitful relationship with Delta Development Group.
“This is something I feel so positive about,” Miller said. “We are forming a relationship with this group. This doesn’t have to stop with this grant. We’ve talked for a long time about how it would be nice to get a grant writer. That’s (pointing to Kline) our grant writer. I really think it’s a good opportunity for the future, not just for this, for the next 20 years. That’s why I was speaking so highly of this.”
Aaron backed Miller’s sentiments.
“As Mr. Mayor said, I think it’s a great opportunity,” Aaron said. “There’s a lot more we can get out of this relationship.”
Roberts asked if the $10,000.00 fee was just for the storm water grant or if it was for all the grants Delta Design would be writing for the borough for the next year. She was told it would only be for the one grant but was assured by Kline that price includes everything including the administration of the grant by his company.
“We would actually do the application on behalf of the borough,” Kline said. “We would administer the grant. We would take you through the audit process and the reimbursement. So, the $10,000.00 really covers this project from beginning to end, from the day you submit to the day you receive all the reimbursement.”
STORM WATER AUTHORITY BUDGET APPROVED
The Council also approved the Storm Water Authority Budget, which came in just shy of $220,000.00, according to Aaron.
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