portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Scioto County eligible for infrastructure assistance

August 3, 2012

FRANK LEWIS


PDT Staff Writer


Scioto County is one of 11 counties in the southern part of the state eligible for financial assistance for public infrastructure projects.


The funding is provided through the Tri State Capital Improvement Program (SCIP), better known as the State Issue 1 Program, the Small Governments Capital Improvement Program, and the Local Transportation Improvement Program (LTIP), which are beginning their Round 27 funding cycles.


Counties, cities, villages, townships, and certain special water and sewer districts may submit applications for funding, according to Kim Reynolds at the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC). Eligible projects include the construction, repair, or replacement of roads, bridges and culverts, along with water, wastewater and stormwater systems. She said financial assistance is available in the form of grants, no-interest loans, and loan assistance (payment of interest on loans from other funding sources for a two-year period.


Reynolds said the programs are competitive, as projects compete for funding with each other for a set allocation of funds. Each project is scored using an objective rating system, and funds are awarded on the basis of those scores. In addition to Scioto County the other counties eligible include Adams, Brown, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross and Vinton.


New Boston Village Administrator Steve Hamilton said he will apply for some of the funding, but he has applied for almost every form of state and federal assistance for existing infrastructure repairs and maintenance in the village and has been denied every single time.


“These sewer lines are 60 to 70 years old. I still have brick manholes on U.S. 52 east and west. I have combined sewers that the U.S. EPA is giving me time to find ways to generate revenues to keep overflows out of the creeks and river. When you open up all the papers, the first thing you look at is they’re talking about birth control components, and they’re talking about broadband and covered bridges,” Hamilton said.


He said he was glad those projects have received funding, and he doesn’t want to take anything away from them, but he said the New Boston infrastructure is just as important, or more-so. When the federal government ordered communities to inspect and upgrade their flood defense system two-years ago, they didn’t give the village of New Boston any money to assist them. Instead the village secured a private line of credit through U.S. Bank — nearly $300,000 — and paid for the project by themselves.


“These senators and representatives from Scioto County need to get more involved, and they need to get more money down here for infrastructure. It’s not like I haven’t applied for every single thing they have sent our way, but they say we’re not big enough. Well, maybe we’re not the big three-C’s (Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland) but we still pay federal tax money,” Hamilton said.


He said he called local representatives’ offices, but he has never gotten a call back from anyone. The village has, meanwhile, received some funding assistance from Community Action and the Scioto County Commissioners.


Hamitlon said he will apply for the latest Round 27 funds, and hopes that representatives will finally step in to assist New Boston.


Reynolds said subdivisions applying for Round 27 funds should begin the planning process as soon as possible. The deadline to submit completed applications to the respective county is Oct. 5, 2012. For more information on the programs, Reynolds said people should contact the county engineer, county commissioners, or call her office at 740-947-2853. Applications are available online at www.pwc.state.oh.us, and should be completed electronically.


Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com. Ryan Scott Ottney also contributed to this story, and can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235.