By DAVID GREEN
Time is running short before Fayette might have to toss away any hope of obtaining $600,000 in grant money to help pay for the sewer separation project that could start as early as this fall.
Without that grant, residents will need to add that much extra to their own share of the project’s cost. With the current 513 water/sewer accounts, an even split of the cost would add an additional $1,170 for each family over the course of the payback period at zero percent interest.
The cost would increase to $1,480 at two percent interest and to about $2,400 at six percent interest.
“I’m really worried about you,” Roberta Acosta of the Rural Community Assistance Program told village council members June 27. “You’re just not going to do any better than [this grant].”
Acosta has worked with the village on various projects over recent years and she’s currently assisting with grants and loans for the sewer project.
In order to apply for the grant, the village must present income data.
“The new census data has you much higher than where we believe the village should be,” she said, “but unfortunately we’re not having a lot of success with that.”
Median household income data was collected in 2003, Acosta said, but it must be recertified. Forms were mailed to randomly-generated addresses, and when returns failed to meet the quota, council members spent some time going door to door.
Acosta said there are 130 valid responses, but 247 are needed. To qualify for the grant, the village must prove that at least 51 percent of the residents fall into the low-to-moderate income range.
Acosta brought a new survey form that she hopes will make some residents more comfortable in responding. It asks for three pieces of information: the address of the residence; the number of people living at the residence; an indication of the income range of the family. A resident is asked to check a box showing the income range that matches the family.
Acosta gave council members until July 13 to try again. She would tabulate data again and there would be one additional week before the deadline. Council member Julia Ruger suggested sending surveys along with water bills to those addresses chosen to receive one. Bills are due July 15.
There’s one other complicating factor, she said. If the village doesn’t have a contract for the project signed by the end of the year, the $4.8 million grant from the Ohio EPA will disappear.
This is very, very important to the community, Acosta said.