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Village of Somerset to submit community block grant application

MSA Professional Services Branch Manager Dave Rasmussen presented the details of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) at a public hearing Tuesday night preceding the village board’s regular meeting.

Rasmussen told trustees and residents the main purpose of this application is to obtain a matching funds grant to pay for the new well at site #5, but he encouraged citizens to help identify additional community development needs at the meeting.

“The project that we’re looking at is the construction of well #5. I think you have a good shot. I can’t guarantee funding, but I think there’s enough health and safety needs with your existing wells that we can make a good case for that,” said Rasmussen.

CDBG grants consist of federal funds allocated to states to be dispersed to help support infrastructure and facility projects including housing, streets, water and sewer and storm water drainage. The well project would fall under the public facilities category.

Rasmussen explained that the village would be applying for the maximum amount allowable, $500,000. If the application were successful, the village would be required to provide a matching amount of $500,000. The cost for the well project is estimated at $1.3 million. He recommended that the village secure a construction loan for their portion of the grant.

“What we’ve been telling communities is to get a construction loan for the entire match amount and that should be adequate to get the maximum points for the commitment of other funds. That category is worth 40 points of the total 250 possible application points,” said Rasmussen.

Having the loan in place by the time the application is reviewed would increase the chances that the application would be granted, said Rasmussen.

MSA plans to include the test well data and emphasize the health and safety concerns that necessarily accompany safe drinking water for a community.

Another project raised at the hearing that potentially meets the qualifications for a GDBG is the new public library building program.

“Grant applications have to be sponsored by the community. Libraries are an eligible activity through the GDBG program,” said Rasmussen.

Following the public hearing, trustees approved Resolution 2017-01 authorizing the submission of a Community Block Grant Public Facilities application in the amount of $500,000. The fee for MSA to prepare and submit the application will be $5,000.

Trustees also approved Resolution 2017-02 authorizing the village to provide a Guarantee of Matching Funds for the GDBG application in the amount of $500,000.

Seth Hudson, Senior Manager of Economic & Community Development Services for Cedar Corporation, provided trustees with a report highlighting ten projects in various stages of development or recruitment in the village.

“There’s a lot going on right now. The whole region is seeing a lot of uptake, frankly,” said Hudson.

He specifically noted a distribution company and excavating company that were both looking to relocate to the industrial park. He also reported that the 48-52-room hotel interested in locating at 750 Rivard Street is scheduled to meet with investors the week of March 27.

Other business

  • Trustees approved a new contract with Safeassure for 2017 valued at $4213.62.
  • Trustees approved the hire of Brian Parnell to fill the open Water Utility Operator position.
  • Trustees approved changing Public Works Supervisor Robert Gunther’s job title to Public Works Director.
  • Trustees approved paying Cedar Corporation, not to exceed $1,000, to update the 2017 Corporate Boundary Legal Description to account for two annexations that took place in 2016.
  • Construction on Francis Street is scheduled to begin the week of April 4 or April 10 depending on weather. Construction should be completed before Pea Soup Days.
  • Other than repairs to a retaining pond, work on Arnold Street is complete. A meeting with residents to discuss hook up options is being scheduled.
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