Working together for CHIP grant

By Frank Lewis -

Last year, a controversy arose when a joint filing by Scioto County and the city of Portsmouth for a Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) grant failed to succeed. The result was finger-pointing and accusations that led to an exchange of not-so-friendly words.

The two entities are again applying for a CHIP grant and this time a meeting of the minds has resulted in better communications and unity.

“The city of Portsmouth and the county of Scioto have come together to, once again, do a joint agreement, and we went down and hammered that out the day before yesterday (Tuesday),” Scfioto County Commissioners Chairman Bryan Davis said, “Went down and met with (Portsmouth City Manager) Derek (Allen) and his staff and, if awarded, it would be $450,000 for Scioto County, $400,000 for the city of Portsmouth, and that is being done as a joint application.”

Davis said both entities are using the same third party. He said he believes there is a fee that goes with the grant in the amount of 10 percent, and there is an administrative cost as well.

Davis said a better line of communication has been opened.

“I don’t know that there is any debate about what had happened. There really wasn’t a discussion,” Davis said. “Our focus is to move forward. There was a discussion about how to eliminate any mis-communication moving forward.”

Davis said the bottom line is if the two government bodies did not file jointly, they were not going to get funded.

“I think there was a desire at first to file separately,” Davis said. “To be honest with you, that would not have worked. We contacted ODSA (Ohio Development Services Agency). We talked to them specifically. We asked them – ‘what are the chances?’ the chances are a big fat zero.”

“With that in mind and setting aside the past and doing our jobs as public servants, we couldn’t let what happened last year affect our decision, as administrators to do what’s right for the people of Scioto County and the city of Portsmouth,” Davis said. “The bottom line is, if we didn’t combine, the chances to get funded is zero. If we combine the chances are much greater.”

He credited the work of Michelle Throckmorton for the county and Tracy Schearer for the city of Portsmouth working together to apply for the grant.

Davis said the joint effort does not guarantee they will get funded as it is a highly competitive field.

“The county and the city are the primary funders of the (Scioto County) Port Authority (SOPA), so I kind of take direction from city council and the county,” SOPA Director Jason Kester told the Daily Times. “So it’s good to see everybody coordinating, because that just makes what I’m doing better. Anyt6hing we can do to get more money and more development, it’s a good thing.”

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewisPDT.