Van Buren County holds public hearing for grant

By | December 7, 2017 10:01 am

Life saving equipment, such as self-contained breathing apparatuses, will be pursued by the county for the next round of community development block grants. (Photo by BOBBY MCCULLEY)

The Van Buren County Mayor’s Office recently held a public hearing to receive input from the community about the submission of an application for the upcoming community development block grant cycle.

On Dec. 5, 2017, Van Buren County Mayor Greg Wilson held the public hearing whose purpose was to receive feedback from the community about the various proposals the county could submit for an application to receive state grant funding.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development annually issues community development block grants. Communities and counties across Tennessee have an opportunity to submit an application to request for grants that would fund a specific project or community need.

Tennessee’s community development block grant projects have an objective to improve the quality-of-life within a specific community. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has six different categories of grant funding.

Those categories include funding for water line extensions, sewer line extensions, water system improvements, sewer system improvements, housing rehabilitation, and community livability. Community livability projects include anything that is eligible under the federal legislative guidelines.

Popular community livability projects include rural fire protection, primary health care, drainage or street improvements, and other similar projects that are related to health and safety conditions within the community. The maximum value that can be issued by these community development block grants is $500,000 for lines, housing, and systems. Community livability projects have a funding cap of $300,000 per project.

The government of Van Buren County has proposed to submit an application for the purchase of self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) for the five volunteer fire departments, in Van Buren County. SCBA’s are a vital piece of equipment that firefighters and emergency responders utilize to provide breathable air while working in dangerous conditions.

The volunteer fire departments in Van Buren County now have numerous SCBA’s that are past their lifespans or are approaching their lifespans. Van Buren County is planning on requesting CDB grants to purchase 40 new SCBA units to be disbursed among the volunteer fire departments.

With no objection from any member in the audience, the county government will move forward with preparing their CDB grant application. Applications are due by the end of February 2018.

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