Southern Indiana Development Corporation Provides Oolitic Town Council With Grant Application Updates

(OOLITIC) – During a lengthy Town Council meeting, Rex Knight provided the Oolitic Town Council with an update on the application process and updates for water and stormwater/sewer projects. The town was interested in possibly three different types of grant applications which include: Storm/Water, Blight (Oolitic School), and Water Project.

Blight Grant Information – according to Mr. Knight suggested that the Blight Project Grant will probably be the most accessible grant to apply for as that application process is open, on a rolling grant basis. The grant will allow up to $500,000 in grant funding and allow up to two blight projects going on at the same time. At least, one of the projects must however already be bid on.
There are a few requirements that will be required by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Phase one of the condition would be an environmental study, and the second phase will be an asbestos study. The average cost for the environmental review will be around $3,500, and the average prices for the asbestos testing costs would average $8,000 to $9,000. The SIDC will absorb fees for both studies. The average period for an environmental study will be 60-90 days.
Storm/Water Grant Information – with a $500,000-$600,000 grant there will be a ten percent match. The second round for this funding will be around October 4th, with the application must be turned in by October 22nd. Mr. Knight advised the board that now is the time to go ahead and start making preparations for the survey to make sure there is plenty of time to get the surveys and applications completed. The requirement for this grant that an engineer will have a review and the grant will also pay the engineer reviews. The engineer will determine the size and scope
of the project and where the focus of the project needs to be.
Water Grant Information – with a $600,000-$700,000 project the match will be 20 percent match. As well as an engineer review will be required. The engineer will be responsible for identifying the size and scope of the project. And the survey will cover both the Water and Water Sewer survey’s when complicated, so there is no duplication in the reviews. The survey’s themselves will last a total of 5 years. If you do not get the grant, the survey will be valid up to the five years. The last review was determined 19 areas needed to be focused on, and it was reduced down to where 9 required to be immediately focused on based on financial information. These projects are highly competitive, unlike the Blight Grants.
The survey itself is now a little is more comfortable now to be able to conduct. The number of people that will have to surveyed will lower than before. With the first being, 261 individuals being required to survey is now a total of 61 individuals. The list we are originated by the SIDC of the addresses that will come up to target. Of those submitting information, to receive the grant 51 percent must be low income. The recommendation of going door to door is suggested over mail-in surveys due to better responses of individuals providing the information. No names will ever be used, and the person taking the survey will never see the information. Those being surveyed will be asked if their income level is a certain amount based on the number of people living in their home. When the surveys are conducted advance notice will be placed in the newspaper, post office and town hall to notify the residents of the survey.
Following, the information town attorney Greg Pittman had a few questions concerning the Oolitic School. Indiana Landmarks is interested in utilizing the Oolitic School and wanted to have a few questions addressed. They are curious about what funding options they are to look at asbestos removal and other environmental impacts should they decide to turn the school into Housing. If an underground tank may be found it must be moved.
According to Mr. Knight, the insurance company of the school corporation if they still exist may be responsible for the storage tank removal. It will be a time-consuming matter, but the SIDC will also have to contact an environmental lawyer to be able to determine those types of issues, and decide which insurance company will take responsibility and the amount of the liability they will be responsible for covering especially if they are any kinds of leaks associated with the tank.
A preservation Grant may also be an option through OCRA Historical Fund, which may cover the costs of the exterior renovation. This grant will cover roofs, foundations, windows, etc. up to $500,000 with a ten percent match. Indiana Landmarks will be notifying the town by the next meeting whether they are still interested in the project. The city is looking at two options for the Oolitic School which include demolishing it or using it for housing through Indiana Landmarks.
The town applied for two Community Crossing Grants. Councilman Dirk Sears explained the grants were used to be able to have a more significant impact in the whole city. These projects will include having an Automatic External Defibrillator at the town hall, and in the town’s police car. And the second was to purchase weather radios. Amount of both grants total $5,000.
The council also decided to go with IU Health instead of the original company chose for drug testing the last meeting. Under the suggestion of Ted Maze, IU Health is cheaper and local to where employees can go to get tested. The costs include $45 for a panel test and an annual fee of $160. First Care in Bedford does not do any Department of Transportation Drug testing. All council members approved the change in the DOT drug testing provider.
Tipton Trenching was awarded three water and sewer projects to address some issues, and a water project will be discussed at the first project with the lowest bid being approved of $17,853. Three companies submitted the proposal, with the highest coming from Infrastructure Systems coming in at $26,700, and a second company Don Hardesty placing the bid at $26,700.
Two other projects were approved, with Tipton trenching being award the bid on the first project at $16,601 and second project of $6,805 only Councilman Glenn Gross opposed the bid award. The money will have to be transferred from the General Fund to the water fund to help cover some of the project costs. Funds from the sale of the Oolitic School will be used to help fund these projects. Any project below $25,000 the town only has to solicit bids, whereas anything above $25,000 will have to be certified, and other conditions met to be awarded. President Bill Kendall stated some of the issues have been over a year and a half now, we have the money to address these three projects.
Currently, there are no town employees for the Town of Oolitic; all have resigned and went to other jobs. Some of the complaints of those leaving believe residents are harassing them and they are being followed around.The council approved the hiring of two new employees; the employees will be Zack Bell and Wes Tipton.
The votes were taken separately with Town Council member Glen Gross opposing the hiring of Wes Tipton. Also, there are no supervisors at this time, and that position will be advertised.
The town council will submit a proposal to buy a chipper from the City of Bedford, which was offered to the town. The chipper was not working at the time, and if the city could get it in operation, they could offer to buy it. The chipper only needed a battery and maintenance work. An offer of $500 will be made.
Ted Maze has completed his 40-hour training and is now able to start his duties. It was also, mentioned that he receives no compensation for the fire department.
In addressing some traffic issues during school times and during the day was suggested that the Town Marshal and Deputy Marshal be available between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., or 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. Other police agencies are also patrolling the town they include the Lawrence County Police Department and Indiana State Police especially when staffing levels were low. Also, there are some ordinance violations such as unregistered vehicles parked on the streets, several weeks ago the town met in Executive Session to address those issues.
The Town Council approved the next meeting which due to the Memorial Day Holiday have been changed to Wednesday, May 29th.