Morganfield signs off on grant to help finance sewer project

Rachel Akpotu
The Gleaner - 07/27/2015

Morganfield signs off on grant to help finance sewer project
Morganfield City Council has announced it will receive a $1 million Community Development Block Grant to help finance Phase II of its sewer project.

The grant means Morganfield will borrow $1 million less to complete the project which may eliminate the need for a rate increase to cover the cost.

Joanna Shake, GRADD associate director of Community and Economic Development, said grants like these are hard to come by, so the city has reason to be proud.

“A grant of this size and magnitude does not occur frequently,” Shake said.

Kentucky’s Department for Local Government had $6.1 million allocated for public facilities projects (water and sewer) to be distributed statewide. There were 21 applications for funding and Morganfield was awarded approximately one-sixth of the funds available.

Shake reviewed the terms of the grant at the last city council meeting which included procedures for the release of funds. Some of the items included the environmental certification, which was signed and approved by Mayor Dickie Berry. She said there were no archeological studies needed, which was a big plus for the project. The residential relocation assistance plan also was not an issue since no on will be forced to move as a result of the project.

Shake said CDBG grants are extremely competitive. Morganfield received the funding in part due to the merit of the overall project.

“The city was tenacious in completing the due diligence and federal requirements,” she said. “... Judge Executive Jody Jenkins and the Fiscal Court also weighed in and went to bat for the city at every opportunity. He (Jenkins) made sure that this project was on DLG and the governor’s radar at all times and stressed the importance of it to the community and how deserving the city was.”

Shake said DLG appreciates communities that strive to help themselves.

“So often cities approach the state wanting 100 percent grants. It’s hard for the state to assist towns that don’t try to help themselves first,” Shake said. “We know of a community in another county that hasn’t raised rates since 1998 but yet they want money to fix failing infrastructure. Morganfield has always taken action to solve its problems first before asking for additional assistance. I think this weighed favorably for them as well.”

If the project goes over budget, the city of Morganfield will be responsible for all cost overruns. In this case, the city would most likely have to borrow money. There is also a $209,708 in a contingency line-item built into the budget just in case.

Original article HERE.