Clearfield Commissioners Approve CDBG Funding Application

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners approved the 2013 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding application with a modification to an allocation from last year during Tuesday’s workshop meeting.

This year the county received $242,640 from the state. The county’s Planning Director Jodi Brennan recommended allocating $100,000 to both the Houtzdale Municipal Authority (HMA) and to the Woodward Township Sewage and Water Authority (WTSWA). She also recommended juggling last year’s $100,000 allocation for the WTSWA project, which isn’t “ready to go,” to the Curwensville Municipal Authority (CMA).

According to Brennan, the CMA is upgrading its wastewater treatment facility to meet the state Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) nutrient discharge limitations per the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy. The CMA must reduce total nitrogen and total phosphorus in its effluent by Oct. 1, 2014, she said.

She said the total project will cost $7.7 million, and the CMA has an H20 grant for $4 million and bank financing for $3.6 million. The CMA, she said, serves Curwensville Borough and parts of Pike Township.

Brennan said the HMA will replace 6,600 lineal feet of main interceptor sewer line in Houtzdale Borough. Their operation and maintenance expenses, she said, continue to escalate, and reducing the volume of unpolluted water being treated is the single-most cost effective solution to minimize these costs.

She said the replacement of this line will reduce the infiltration flow of unpolluted water flowing into the sewer plant. The unpolluted groundwater, she said, will be directed to the Regional Water Pollution Control Facility. She said the HMA’s total project will cost $216,000.

The WTSWA funding, according to Brennan, is for a private sewage laterals assistance program, so that the eligible low-income homeowners may receive help with connecting to the sewage collection line. Due to malfunctioning on lot systems in Woodward and Gulich Townships, she said the WTSWA would like to install sewage collection lines for approximately 250 EDUs in the Sterling area located immediately east of Houtzdale Borough in Woodward Township along Sterling and Clara avenues and St. James Street, in the Franklin area located immediately south of Houtzdale Borough in Woodward Township along Moran, Emery and First avenues and Don Street and in the Whiteside area located south of Houtzdale Borough in Woodward Township and a small portion of Gulich Township along state Route 153.

The WTSWA’s total project will cost $5,801,000. The WTSWA received $5,616,000 from PENNVEST and will contribute $35,000, said Brennan.

“We have to juggle some funds around,” she said. “Woodward Township’s project isn’t ready to go yet. Curwensville Municipal Authority is ready, and we want to spend our money timely. We don’t want the funds to linger and be lost.”

According to her, the county received six CDBG funding requests for $683,939. She said requests came from Burnside Borough, Curwensville Municipal Authority, Houtzdale Borough, Houtzdale Municipal Authority, Woodland Bigler Area Authority and the Woodward Township Sewage and Water Authority.

“Obviously, we had requests far outweigh the funding available,” said Brennan. Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen said when the county considers the CDBG funding requests it ranks them based upon project readiness, the applicant’s financial plans for the project and the number of people who will be served by the project.

“Everyone is graded on an even playing field,” said Robinson-McMillen. Brennan said the county also awards CDBG funding to the municipalities that have never received it or that haven’t in recent years. She said the county has also been giving priorities to water and sewer infrastructure projects, as those are a significant need within the county.

Lisa Kovalick, the county’s community development specialist, said some municipalities are holding onto their CDBG funding by the skins of their teeth. She said they’ll be addressing the timeliness issues, so far as those projects to prevent the county from losing that funding. Kovalick said the state is now requiring CDBG funding to be spent within three years.

According to her, the county has a 2010 CDBG recipient that hasn’t started its project yet due to complications. She said the county plans to seek an extension from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). However, if not granted, she said the county will have to reallocate this funding.

Kovalick said if a CDBG recipient doesn’t spend its funding timely, it risks losing funding for the county. To avoid this, she said they reallocate the funding and allow the recipient to reapply later. Kovalick said the county tries to rank CDBG applicants based upon project timeliness, but projects do face complications.

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