by Jonathan Weaver
East Franklin Township supervisors held their first public hearing before last night’s public meeting to discuss ways to utilize their Community Development Block Grant annual allocation.
County Planning and Development’s Project Manager Sally Conklin said the entitlement community will receive a total of more than $83,500 in state Department of Community and Economic Development funds to use toward projects such as sanitary sewer facilities, recreation or streets and roads.
Township supervisors will be able to budget about $68,500 to allow for the county’s administration fee. The state application deadline is November 18.
In 2015, East Franklin Township supervisors allocated their $82,310 for housing rehabilitation, but supervisors hope to reallocate that money toward the township sewage treatment plant emergency notification system.
The last completed project – in 2014 – provided lateral connection taps for two dozen low-to-moderate income households. Four households were found to be ineligible for assistance, and one is waiting to be connected so that is why that project is not complete.
“We’ve been in contact with the contractor trying to get him back out there,” Conklin said.
Supervisor Chair Barry Peters clarified that funding can be allocated toward local volunteer firefighters, and Conklin said funds have been used in the past in other municipalities for breathing apparatus.
Supervisors did consider fixing some roads – including Furnace Run, Rolling Hills and Lemmon Hollow – , but Conklin will check if roads can be tar and chipped rather than paved.
Other projects in the township’s three-year plan include helping more Furnace Run or Walkchalk residents with sewage lateral fees, more recreation improvements or the sewage treatment plant warning system.
A pair of other township residents did not have any other suggestions.
Conklin said one of the hurdles toward projects, however, is Township residents’ responding to income surveys for a particular area. Residents in a specific village or on a road proposed for repair must meet low-to-moderate income requirements.
“Sometimes, you find out (the area) doesn’t meet income eligibility or you can’t get people to respond – so it makes it very difficult to proceed,” Conklin said.
She also reminded supervisors that projects resulting in residential displacement must include relocation assistance and those units must be replaced within three years and of sufficient size to house at least the same number of occupants.
Before meeting entitlement status in 2012, East Franklin Township received more than $2.75 million through several competitive CDBG grants to provide water and sewage systems.
Conklin anticipated a second public hearing before the August public meeting.