Commissioners not done with CHIP fight

By Wayne Allen - [email protected]

Scioto County Commissioners recently accepted communication from the Ohio Development Services Agency officially informing them, their Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) Program application was not funded. The commissioners said they are not finished fighting for the funding and have gotten Senator Rob Portman involved.

The city of Portsmouth and the Scioto County Commissioners formed a partnership earlier this year and submitted a joint (CHIP) application. In late August, the county was informed their application failed to meet necessary standards to be funded and was not awarded funding.

In an effort to seek answers a meeting was held in Columbus between Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) Director David Goodman, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Mike Crabtree, Scioto County Grant Administrator Michele Throckmorton along with Senator Joe Uecker and staff, and representatives from Senator Rob Portman and State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson’s offices.

At the meeting it was explained the application was denied was because some necessary documents were missing. Collectively the city and county were applying for $850,000 to fund various projects.

In the letter received by the commissioners, Matt Lamantia, Interim Deputy Chief, Offices of Community Development stated, “The Ohio Development Services Agency, Office of Community Development recently completed its review of 45 Fiscal Year 2016 CHIP Program applications. Funding requests totaled approximately $35 million.”

In total $25.6 million was awarded through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Ohio Housing Trust Fund were allocated to 31 applications.

Lamantia states in his letter, “Unfortunately Scioto County’s application did not rank high enough to be considered for funding. However, the Office of Community Development is interested in providing individual technical assistance to improve Scioto County’s application for the next CHIP Program funding round.”

The communities application received a score of 75.62 with the minimum thresh hold for funding was 82.64.

”I can tell you Senator Portman was waiting for the letter (the official letter informing the community its application was not funded),” said Bryan Davis, Scioto County Commissioner.

When asked why Senator Portman was interested in the letter Davis said, “we’re not done fighting,” and would not elaborate further.

Todd Walker, Chief Communications Officer for the Ohio Development Services Agency of Columbus said the CHIP program is highly competitive and not every community that applies is funded, there were roughly 45 community applications funded this round.

Crabtree indicated the county could apply for half the original amount in 2017.

Local, projects considered under the CHIP application included, funding for people living in low to moderate income housing to do repairs and rehabilitation projects on current owner occupied homes. Eligible projects could include window and roof replacement, wheelchair accessibility ramps, electrical, structural or mechanical repairs and sewer projects.

By Wayne Allen

[email protected]

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter