Funds to be used for Infrastructure Improvements

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland City Council took steps to move forward in the application process for $2 million in infrastructure grants during a meeting of the city council held on Thursday, Aug. 3.

The first order of business brought before the council involved the approval of a resolution “… that authorizes submission of an application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for a 2017 Texas Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program – Texas Capital Fund grant of up to $1 million to construct sewer and water improvements (to benefit a specific company) and designates the mayor as the city’s signatory.”

The purpose of the resolution was to further the negotiation process between the city of Grapeland, the Grapeland Economic Development Corporation and a potential new business looking to create primary jobs as it expands into the Grapeland area.

“We are also required to send in a budget materials breakdown and a fund information costing sheet which basically talks about the requirements we are fulfilling or will fulfill. We will also send in a batch of schematic layouts,” Grapeland Mayor Bali Dailey said.

“What we wanted to do tonight is make the timeline so this could be submitted to the Texas Department of Agriculture by Aug. 21,” he added.

A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to submit the application and to authorize the mayor to act as the signatory.

The next item addressed by the council concerned “… the submission of an application to the Economic Development Assistance’s (EDA) 2017-2018 Public Works Investment Assistance program for grant funds to construct sewer and water system improvements to foster economic development activity.

After reading the agenda item, Dailey introduced Kelle Stubblefield, Senior Project Manager with GrantWorks, who is helping shepherd the city through the grant process.

“We are going to wait until we get clarification from the (CDBG) Capital Fund as to whether you’re in line for funding, which we expect you to be. Once you are, that would be the match to that. There is no need to apply to the EDA until you know about the capital fund,” she said.

Stubblefield said the city would submit the Capital Fund grant application on Aug. 21 and once the city received notification about the application status, the EDA grant application would be ready for submission.

A motion was approved to authorize the EDA grant application.

Following the motion’s approval, the council retired into executive session at 6:15 p.m.

During the closed door portion of the meeting, Stubblefield was asked to clarify the grant application procedures undertaken by the city.

“The city will submit the application on Aug. 21. TDA (Texas Department of Agriculture) takes applications once a month. Once we hear – yes or no – whether we will be funded, then we will submit the $1 million application to EDA,” she said.

The Capital Fund would cover the required match for the EDA, Stubblefield explained.

“The whole thing will be a $2 million project. This is all done to help bring a new business to town. This is all through the Economic Development to create jobs and bring a new business to town where at least 51 percent of those jobs created will be for low to moderate income people. I’m pretty sure they’re going to commit to 40 or 50 jobs, but I’m not positive on the number,” she said.

The council reconvened in open session after approximately 15 minutes, took no action on items discussed in executive session and adjourned at 6:35 p.m.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.