First round of Small Cities grants awarded in Carlton CountyTwenty-nine property owners in Carlton County have been notified they have been awarded some $580,000 in Small Cities Development Grant funding, according to Pat Oman, Carlton County economic development director.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Twenty-nine property owners in Carlton County have been notified they have been awarded some $580,000 in Small Cities Development Grant funding, according to Pat Oman, Carlton County economic development director.
Oman addressed the Carlton County Board on Monday with the update on the program – the first ever to be administered on a county wide basis in the entire state.
Oman told commissioners that each of the grant awardees will receive a maximum of $20,000, providing the property owner is able to contribute the required amount of matching funding toward the rehabilitation of his or her building.
To date, only owner-occupied and commercial building projects have been awarded funding. Oman said annditional funding for home owners was also secured through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
The recipients of Small Cities rental housing grants are yet to be determined, according to Oman, since it takes longer to determine fair market rates and related background information.
Some 26 applications have been received for the rehabilitation of rental properties in the county, though not all will be funded.
“If we had received the original $1.2 million we applied for,” said Oman, “we could have funded all of the applications we received.”
Instead, the county was awarded $741,750, though Oman said he is hopeful that more Small Cities grant funding will be available in the year ahead.
He went on to say that those applicants not receiving Small Cities grant funding during this round of awards will be given priority consideration when and if additional funding is received, or in the case any of the currently funded projects decides not to move forward for some reason.
Oman said he feels certain that a reasonably equitable balance was achieved in the first round of grant awards among all districts in the county.
In other business to come before the board, commissioners gave their approval to a potential rerouting of two new pipelines proposed by Enbridge Energy across Carlton County.
Enbridge, who plans to build its Northern Clipper and Southern Lights pipelines across Minnesota in coming years, has reportedly run into possible issues with its original plan to route the lines across the Fond du Lac Reservation. In the case that plan fails to move forward, Enbridge asked that Carlton County consider allowing the lines to be routed instead through tax-forfeited land owned by the county.
An initial motion was offered by Commissioner Gordon Aanerud, OK’ing the rerouting of the pipeline through county land if it becomes necessary and asking for a lump sum payment of $142,020. With a vote of 2-2 (Commissioner Mel Tan was absent), the motion failed to pass for lack of a majority.
In a followup motion, Commissioner Dick Brenner asked the plan be approved but with the stipulation that payments be made on a five-year basis over the lifetime of the pipeline. The motion was passed.
Up to 40 percent of the income from the Enbridge pipeline easements would go to the county’s Tax Forfeit Land Department, with the balance distributed to townships and school districts.
County Transportation Department Director Wayne Olson announced that enhancement project proposals are currently being accepted for consideration for the 2013 funding period. A workshop is slated for Sept. 13, with final applications due by December.
Olson said one project already proposed for that funding period is Phase 4 of the St. Louis Trail Project.
For more information, contact Olson at 218-384-9150.