Greene County governments that need help with projects offered new funding source

ajc.com

Greene County municipalities will have the opportunity to apply for more funds to get improvement projects done.

Greene County commissioners approved a new municipal grant program called the Greene County Community Investment Program. Eric Henry, director of the Greene County development department, said the program will start accepting applications on Friday

“Our department created this program to empower jurisdictions in identifying infrastructure projects for strategic economic development,” Henry said.

The grant program will give $750,000 annually to Greene County cities, villages and townships.

Henry said to get the $750,000, the county took half of the $500,000 allotted to the county’s Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) and put it into the new program. The EDIP program traditionally does not use the full $500,000, Henry said, so they felt it made sense to take from the program. The EDIP program will no longer have grant cycles, so eligible businesses can now apply for this program any time. Henry said this change will allow the county development department to move faster in assisting businesses with expansion or relocation.

“All together, we have $1 million worth of money going toward setting up a pro-business environment in Greene County,” Henry said.

The new grant will help Greene County jurisdictions with things like road extensions, utility extensions, demolition or municipal fiber. Grants may also be awarded for community-based projects which improve the quality of life for residents such as parks, shared spaces and “main-street” or downtown improvements.

Ideal grant requests will better position jurisdictions to compete for development projects at both state and local levels, Henry said.

ExploreGreene County could create new municipal grant program

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year and jurisdictions can apply for grants from this program on an annual basis.

Henry said up to $20,000 will be awarded for the types of projects that include due-diligence and development studies, up to $100,000 for main street improvement projects, up to $200,000 for projects that involve demolition or site development and $200,000 and up could be awarded for infrastructure or utility improvement projects.

Projects will be graded by the Department of Development staff. The Greene County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) will then recommend projects to county commissioners for approval.

The projects will be scored based on how the project would improve quality of life, if the project has letters of support, how long the project would benefit the county and the potential for future projects from the project.

A jurisdiction may only apply for one grant application at a time. Once an award has been issued, jurisdictions have 12 months to verify that the money has been encumbered for the intended purpose and 24 months to spend it. Clawbacks could be initiated for nonperformance, Henry said.

Funds left over at the end of the calendar year may be divided amongst the remaining municipalities who did not receive grant funds. The distribution formula will be determined based on funds available and will be at the discretion of the county commissioners, Henry said.