A grant may add fire hydrants to some roads in the unincorporated county.
County Commissioners on Tuesday approved applying for a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state Department of Community Affairs to pay for the fire hydrants on South Oak Drive, Pine Hill Road, Maple Lane, Ash Drive, Willis Drive and Hale Drive. The county will agree to put up 10 percent – $35,000 – in matching funds.
Commissioners approved giving Chairman Ricky Wolfe authority to sign off on the grant application before holding a public hearing on the grant Tuesday. Resident Bill Gilmore, speaking during the public hearing, asked if the vote should have been taken after the public hearing.
County Manager Tod Tentler said the Commission had not yet voted on the grant. He clarified after the meeting that even though the Commission had approved giving Wolfe authority to sign off on the application, the chairman could not sign off until Commissioners approved the grant application itself.
Gilmore also asked where the county would get the money to put for its local share of the grant funds. County Planner Nancy Seegar said the award of the grant won’t announced until September, so it will be in the next fiscal year’s budget.
Gilmore still questioned how the county could ensure there would be funds available for the grant.
Morris Jones said there is a possibility that the county won’t be able to find the money for the local share. However, he hoped that would not be the case.
Foster noted the county’s decision to hire an insurance broker is supposed to save the county up to $250,000 in the next fiscal year. He also said the county has reserves it can tap and felt the project was in the county’s best interest for better fire protection. He said it also will help county residents by improving their ISO insurance ratings to “save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars as a whole.”
After the hearing, Commissioners unanimously voted to apply for the grant.