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County discusses Oak Hill Subdivision

“We’ve got to decide what we’re going to do.”

County engineer David Palmer updated the county commission on the continuing struggle to obtaining funding for improvements to Oak Hill Subdivision, primarily to address vulnerability to flooding.

Palmer said the county has been trying for years to obtain a CDBG grant to make necessary improvements that would mitigate flood-prone conditions in the neighborhood. Multiple applications for the funds have been denied, and Palmer has also found that conditions and restrictions that come along with grant funding have significantly raised the overall cost of completing the project.

Work to be done includes ponds, new drainage pipes and paving.

“In my opinion, we would be better off to do this work, this flooding mitigation work, ourselves,” Palmer said. Palmer suggested pursuing grant funding for materials only and putting forth the city’s work as in-kind, asking for only $100,000 rather than pursuing the maximum grant limit. “When you spend your own county taxes dollars, it will go about five times farther. It’s just a fact … This project brings all that to light.”

Probate Judge Barry Moore emphasized the importance of nailing down precise figures, without the possibility of the project cost inflating down the road, for the commission to make a decision.

Ultimately the county voted to move forward with a CDBG application for drainage and paving, in order to meet a July application deadline, in an amount not to exceed $513,033.50 (the original grant application amount, to try to avoid the possibility of applying for less funding than is needed), contingent on the re-evaluation of numbers for the project by Palmer, for submission and review by NACOLG, Moore and county attorney Roger Bedford.

The county also:

-approved sheriff’s office hires.

-approved temporary employee for revenue commission office.

-approved temporary and part-time hires in the highway department.

– approved chip seal for Overton Farm Road, contingent upon anticipated funding from industrial access money and reimbursement from Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow.