City to apply for grants

By Frank Lewis -

Waterline breaks have become a regular occurrence in the city of Portsmouth, and it is due to deteriorating lines from the reservoir down. That is going to mean repairing and replacing those lines, a project estimated to cost $3,260,000 according to an estimate from Strand and Associates.

Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen was expected to ask Portsmouth City Council to pass an emergency measure (pursuant to Council Rule 5) authorizing the submittal, by Allen, of an FY 2016 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a Residential Public Infrastructure Program application and accepting grant and obligations if funded. The legislation is requested to be passed as an emergency in accordance with Section 10 of the Charter for the City of Portsmouth in order to facilitate administration, daily operation and avoid practical and legal entanglements, Allen said.

Apparently the State of Ohio, through the Ohio Development Services Agency, has FY 2016 funds available as a part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Allocation and Residential Public Infrastructure Program applications; and the City of Portsmouth may be eligible to receive $84,000 in CDBG Allocation Program funds.

“We get formula grant money that is the same every year, and we’re going to put that toward the Sunrise water main,” Allen said. “Under the old way we got approximately $80,000 every year. That’s 2016 money available in 2017.”

The city will also apply for a $500,000 in Residential Public Infrastructure Program grant for infrastructure, providing the city meets all applicable requirements. That grant is not automatic and must to applied for.

The Ohio Developmental Services Agency offers a grant for Community Development/Public Residential Infrastructure funds and Allen said the city is entitled to submit a request for funding and project proposals.

Allen said the city is also getting a $1.5 million zero percent interest loan, which the city can pay off early.

“We’re not interested in long-term debt,” Allen said. “In may of 2018 when that Ameresco debt comes off, I’ll have money to pay off the loans. The rest of it is grant money.”

Allen said he wants to keep the city as debt-free as possible.

“We’re getting things paid for by people other than us,” Allen said.

The project consists of the rehabilitation of an existing 30-inch cast iron potable water transmission main with a slip lining and open trench.

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.