Lewisburg in jeopardy of losing grant money

By Kelsey Kimbler - kkimbler@aimmedianetwork.com

EATON — While the Village of Lewisburg has many grants in the works, a lack of communication with the county may cost the municipality the funding, according to Preble County Administrative Assistant Kim Keller.

During the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, July 19, Keller informed the board she has a deadline fast approaching and no response from either Lewisburg Village Administrator Jeff Sewert or Susan Laux, Grants and Funding Specialist with Mote and Associates.

“I’m having some problems getting the FY15 Lewisburg CDBG project done,” Keller said. “We held off having it constructed last year so we could use it for leverage with the 2016 application for the downtown revitalization. It didn’t change when it needed to be done. It still needs to be done at the original time frame, which all work has to be completed by Aug. 31 of 2017.

“I haven’t heard anything from them so starting the first part of June I sent an email off to Jeff Sewert,” Keller said. “He shared it with Susan and I got an email that said that [Sewert] had a quote on the gazebo and is checking into the rest of the stuff. I talked to [Laux] about using the county’s agreement for the concrete and stone for their storm sewer stuff so they didn’t have to get quotes for that.

“I jumped through all those hoops and sent her the cost for the contracts, told her that she’s more than welcome to use them, but that she didn’t have to. I didn’t get any answer. The first of July I sent another email telling them that I haven’t gotten any quotes. Our project is set up that the village will do all the work of installing the items and the grant will be used to purchase the materials,” Keller continued.

“I am not getting anything,” Keller said. “I have told them before when we had the meetings about the downtown revitalization, I said that they had to follow the county’s procedures for purchasing and that I needed three quotes and we’ll take care of purchasing. I’m not getting any response. They’re all over the downtown revitalization, but I’m not getting anything on this. I do not want to send back grant money.”

Commissioner Rodney Creech recommended reaching out to Lewisburg Mayor Patrick Putnam. “I’d be more than happy to reach out to [Sewert] and if I don’t hear from him reach out to [Putnam],” he offered.

Commissioner Chris Day added, they ask the village to write a letter if they chose not to pursue the grant so at least they have an answer and can “respectfully bow out.”

“Let’s just state very nicely that if you’re not going to fulfill your obligation to us, please give us a letter stating that so we can start working with the folks in Columbus to close this out,” Day said.

In other business, Clerk Connie Crowell called close to 15 counties regarding their prisoner housing contracts that the Preble County Sheriff has with other counties when he has inmates. Commissioner Day said they would review them.

“As long as it doesn’t cost us more money,” Creech said. “Last I heard, when you start making people jump through hoops you’re just going to pay a lot more.”

The commissioners are also seeking answers from the Board of Elections regarding what needs to be secured before an election is held.

Finally, they reviewed details for their trip to the NACO conference, held in Columbus. Commissioners did not hold a meeting on Monday, July 24, because of this trip. Crowell had to sign vouchers on Friday and Monday. All three commissioners left by afternoon on Friday, July 21.

In other news, commissioners noted receipt of:

•A letter from the sheriff noting the resignation of Matt Brueggemann and promotion of Rachael Naseman.

•A bid recommendation from the county engineer that advised rejecting the bid due to it being 10 percent higher than projected. The bid was for the Lexington-Salem Road Reconstruction Project.

•A Memorandum of Understanding for local Area 7 workforce development system agreement with the Area 7 board.

•A work experience program cooperative agreement between the Preble County Commissioners and Preble County Job and Family Services.

•An amendment of the central coordination for at risk children agreement with the Ohio Department of Health and extension of services for an additional month for an increased amount of $1,466.25.

•A child placement agreement with Daybreak for $10,000.

•Six MOUs for MARCS Radio Equipment with Gratis Fire Department, Gratis EMS, West Elkton/Gratis Township Fire Department, West Alexandria EMS, West Manchester Fire Department, and North Central Rescue.

•Preservation services agreement with Agape for Youth Inc.

The Preble County Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse.

By Kelsey Kimbler


Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH