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CBE funds stable, for now

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The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) grant to the Village for the CBE infrastructure is not in immediate jeopardy, but there is some risk that the money could be diverted in an emergency, according to an ACOE planning project manager this week.

“We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the possiblity” that the money could be diverted to another project if not used, according to Project Manager Theresa Beckham of the ACOE Louisville District in an interview on Monday.

However, the “money is still intact,” Beckham said. “That money is not likely to go away.”

According to ACOE records, $447,000 was authorized for the design and installation of CBE water and sewer infrastructure improvements in April 2007, Beckham said, while the Village dates the contractual relationship with the ACOE to April 2006. Some of the money has been used to defray ACOE expenses, and the amount left is about $412,000. Community Resources, the group that owns the CBE land, has repeatedly stated that the Village stands to lose the ACOE money if it doesn’t act quickly to install the CBE infrastructure, and a grant for $594,000 for access road construction from the Ohio Department of Transportation was rescinded last year due to the project delays. The loss of the ODOT grant led to CR requesting that the Village make up the funding gap.

Village Council has agreed to move ahead with authorizing $1 million in bonds for the CBE, and will vote on legislation that allows the issuance of the bonds at a rescheduled meeting on Monday, Jan. 13.

The CBE money is considered stable because it was initially a Congressional “earmark” and actions to rescind the grant would also need Congressional action, Beckham said this week. Also, she stated that the CBE project is not considered unusually delayed.

“We try to tie these projects up in three to four years, but sometimes it’s six, seven or eight years,” she said.

Interim Village Manager Kent Bristol, who also spoke to Beckham this week, said in an interview that he was “somewhat relieved” after speaking to Beckham.

“I was working under the premise that this was under threat,” Bristol said of the grant, stating that his conversation with Beckham indicated that the money was “sort of under threat, but not immediately.”

However, Beckham did indicate that the money, if it continues to sit unused, could be vulnerable if the ACOE needs money in an emergency situation.

“Showing activity on a project helps tremendously” to protect the money, she said. “The longer the funds sit,” the more vulnerable they become.

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