Grant requirements befuddle Antrim supervisors

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

A request by the Cedarbrook Homeowners Association for Antrim Township to sponsor a grant application for handicap accessible sidewalks led to bemusement Tuesday night.

The HOA forwarded a form from the Franklin County Planning Department to Antrim, since a governmental body had to apply for the Community Block Development Grant in the amount of $13,900. Antrim administrator Brad Graham and Antrim solicitor John Lisko looked over the document.

“There are a lot of issues with this,” Lisko told Pat Heraty, Rick Baer, John Alleman, Fred Young III and James Byers.

He shared some of the stipulations — Antrim had to have a policy against excessive force by law enforcement agencies during nonviolent civil rights demonstrations, it would have to hold a public hearing, the project had to benefit low and moderate income people, if the grant was not awarded there had to be a serious and immediate threat to residents, and the township would need a federal environmental officer. The form was updated September 2014.

The supervisors were curious what police behavior had to do with a sidewalk grant.

“It’s because of Ferguson, Missouri,” Lisko said.

The community has been plagued with unrest since police shot an unarmed teenager in August. And the grant, administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development, was federally funded.

The application was due Friday, which did not allow time to advertise and hold a hearing either, the board noted.

Jason Gerhart, representing the HOA, said they had only received the application a few weeks earlier, so the timing was still off for a public hearing. He did state there was risk to neighborhood people in wheelchairs, who had to use driveways to get on the streets to cross intersections, since the sidewalks had no ramps.

Graham said the HOA had put a lot of effort into the application process, and a resolution would allow board chair Heraty to sign it. Graham agreed to be the federal officer.

“I’m taking one for the team,” he said lightly.

Lisko crossed out the clauses the township disagreed with, and with 5-0 approval, Heraty signed the document. There was not much optimism the grant would be awarded.

Back due

sewer accounts

Township secretary Jennifer Becknell reported on the status of delinquent sewer bill collections. Of the 14 property owners notified that they would eventually be disconnected, 10 had responded. Some had paid off their bills and others had set up payment plans. Out of nearly $36,000 due, about $5,800 had been collected.

“That was fairly productive,” said Baer.

“Especially when you consider these are our highest delinquents,” added Lisko.

Graham said if sewer service was disconnected, a code enforcement officer would condemn the buildings.

The township was ready to contact the next tier of back-due accounts.

Becknell said the law firm hired to handle nine other egregious accounts had just sent the property owners their first notice. Those people owed over $25,000.

Other sewer business

Antrim Township Municipal Authority member Bob Coladonato asked the supervisors to consider putting several areas back into the sewer service area. ATMA had created a map of serviceable areas, but the board had taken out sections in 2010 when it adopted the Comprehensive Plan.

“These areas can be serviced without building more lift stations,” Coladonato said.

The largest was all land west of Grant Shook Road. The nearby pump station could handle 648,000 gallons per day, but was utilized for less than 4,000. Other sections were on Worleytown Road and in Kauffman.

The board was open to his suggestion, but planned to review the maps more closely.