Zanesville council says grant comes with too many strings

The Zanesville Town Council voted Thursday, July 18, to table pursuing a grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) to help defray the cost of getting a study done on the town's aging drainage system.

During its last meeting, representatives from DLZ suggested to council that if it wanted a study performed on the town's drainage system, applying for a grant from OCRA would be prudent.

However, after consulting with an OCRA representative, Clerk-Treasurer Julie Christian informed council that the process of applying for a grant would be more involved than they had originally thought.

Christian said that an income survey of the town, which would cost approximately $2,500, would need to be performed before OCRA would consider the town a candidate for a grant. Furthermore, Christian noted that the town would need to hire a certified grant administrator to write the grant and that the town would have to start charging citizens a storm water fee to improve its chances of getting the grant to go through.

The prospect of having to charge citizens a new fee played the biggest role in council's decision to table pursuing the grant.

"We don't feel like the citizens of Zanesville can take on much more burden from government," stated Vice President Patsy Brock.

Council noted, though, that improving the town's drainage system was something it would still continue to research.

Council discussed a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that designated certain properties in town as being in floodplains. Residents can view FEMA's maps at www.in.gov/dnr/water/7358.htm or at the Wells County Government Annex Building, located at 223 W. Washington St., Bluffton, to see if they were affected and could experience higher insurance rates as a result. Council members = noted that citizens could dispute FEMA's claims, provided they be able to do so scientifically.

Town Marshal Carl Collins informed council that a surgery on July 26 would prevent him from doing his duties for up to six weeks. Collins also noted that it might not be his only absence this year, should have other surgeries performed, too. In view of that, Collins recommended to council that it look into hiring someone to cover his duties for those times he is on medical leave.

Council agreed that bringing on a temporary part-time employee to cover Collins' duties would be wise and stated that it would schedule an executive session to determine the position's pay scale.

In other business, a motion to pay Arbor Works $3,870 for trimming 47 trees in town passed unanimously, as did a motion to adopt the town's new employee handbook.