Oolitic Puts Grant Application On Hold

(OOLITIC) – The Oolitic Town Council held a public hearing Monday evening on the proposed grant for two stormwater projects. 

Southern Indiana Development Corporation and Common Wealth Engineers were on hand to explain the project and grant process.

Storm Water issues are major concern in Oolitic

Several residents asked questions about the project as well as the costs associated with the project, with preliminary costs expected at around $690,000.  The grant would pay for $600,000 and the remaining $90,000 would be paid for by the town.

In September, officials said they would use $20,000 from stormwater fees, and the remainder would come from a loan with an interest rate of 3.5 percent over a ten year period.

Since 2006, the town has identified at least sixteen different problem areas. Many of these problem areas are doing damage to property as well as town streets. Earlier this year the town lowered the number to five project due to cost issues. To fix the five areas it would cost more than $1.5 million.

Because of cost, officials again narrowed down the areas that would be fixed to two.

Roadways are being damaged by storm/water issues in Oolitic

The two projects identified are on Mathias Avenue (area 12) and Oak Streets (area 10). Residents on Oak Street are dealing with erosion which is causing property damage and the stormwater is flowing under the road causing damage.

Stormwater fees might have to raise to pay the town’s portion of the grant and to pay for any emergencys that happen.

On Mathis Street, two culverts are completly blocked. This is causing erosion and other damage.

Residents learned on Monday evening that the town did not score very well on the grant. The town only scored 450 points according to Southern Indiana Development Corporation (SIDC). That is almost 30 points below grant approval.

There are some things the town can do to score higher on the grant application. According SIDC, there is not enough time to make those needed changes and to come up with the money to fund the project.

Financing the project is a major challenge. If the town uses their stormwater fund it would deplete the account. Another issue is having the easements completed by November 21st.

The council unanimously decided to wait until January to apply for the grant again.

“It is disappointing, especially with the issues that are occurring in these two locations,” says Town Council President Bill Kendall. “But, we are going to have to wait until we get more revenue in our stormwater fund to be able to fund these two projects. We are going have to raise rates in order to be able to do the projects and have enough revenue to deal with issues that our water/sewer guys can fix. We will have to study and see where the rates should be to address these concerns.”