Whether grants would be offered was questioned this year because only $67,500 was available for this grant cycle. Funds left over from a previous year bump the number to approximately $70,000.
The HCI committee discussed options in a recent meeting.
The number could be more than $100,000 if the Commission approves a motion, made by committee member Curt Aukerman, to move $35,000 previously allocated for a public water fund grant to the general HCI grant funding for this year. The money has been in the HCI budget since 2009 and has not been used. Even if these funds are transferred, there will still be $20,000 available for public water grants. The public water grants provide funding for a portion of what is needed to install public water pipes to homes in the county that previously had well water.
Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said he would make the recommendation to the Bradley County Commission at its next meeting.
Legislative assistant Amy Moore asked if the recommendation would only consider offering the grants if the $35,000 was reallocated.
Even if the Commission does not approve moving the funds, HCI grants will still be offered.
“I think the money is there,” Aukerman said.
Lowe said he felt the grants should be offered, regardless.
“Everything we have funded up to this point is substantial and it’s there. It’s not like we’ve bought a piece of equipment that won’t be there in four years,” committee chairman Lisa Stanberry said. “The expressed purposes for this committee is to do capital outlay.”
Stanberry said the committee will be looking for projects to fund things that will last at least 15 years.
Lowe said the opportunity needs to offered and the guidelines for the grants will ensure that quality projects receive the funds. Moore said the deadline for the grants could will be a limiting factor. The process follows a calendar year, not the fiscal year.
HCI grants are usually awarded in January, giving grant recipients a year to complete the project with the option to apply for a one-year extention. Lowe said many organizations have projects already outlined, so the deadline may not be a factor. An exact deadline for application was not determined at the meeting.
The HCI fund will also pay $92,500 on the bond payments on the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library.