Council to receive grant updates

Published 12:22 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Washington’s City Council will be receiving regular updates on the status of each grant the city is seeking or has been awarded.

The first of those regular updates came during the council’s meeting Monday. The city’s current grants provide funding for building housing for low-income families to sewer improvements to a new dockmaster’s station that includes public restrooms and facilities for boaters using the city’s adjacent docks.

“What we’ve attempted to do with this — this is something new we’ve put together, and we’re stilling refining it and still updating it — but what we’ve have done is put a general template together for every grant so that the idea is that you can go to this one page and see all the information for each grant in the same location so we can track things a lot easier,” City Manager Brian Alligood told the council and Mayor Mac Hodges. “The outline gives the name, the financial status, lets us know when the deadlines are, and, of course, you can find that same deadline on the same page for every grant. It talks about the general status of the grant, and it gives you an update on what was accomplished during the last reporting period, what’s anticipated to be accomplished in the next reporting period, whether we are on schedule or not, if we are not on schedule, what we intend to do to get that grant back on schedule,” Alligood said. “Our staff, we’re meeting once a month on this. There may be a little lag time, but we’ve got the cutoff at the end of the month. This should keep us on track to at least go back and look at those. We’ll present this at the committee of the whole (meetings) from now on … so you, too, can see exactly where we are with those grants.”

The council meets as the committee of the whole the fourth Monday of each month. During such meetings, the council receives information, discusses issues and develops instructions for city staff. Rarely does the council take action during such meetings.

Alligood said the regular grants updates would prove beneficial to the city and council.

“We’ve had some challenges in the past with some grants, and we want to make sure we’re on top of those and we don’t let one slip by us and fall in the crack. So, this is an opportunity to try to do that. Again, it’s an opportunity for us to make it very standardized so that when you pick it up you know if you look in this position on that piece of paper you’re going to see the same thing for each grant — you know where it is,” Alligood said.

Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s chief financial officer and assistant city manager, prepared a summary of the city’s grants that lists the grant amount, expiration date of the grant, how much of the grant has been spent to date and expected completion date of the project.

“It’s a great, little report because, in essence, it puts everything on a piece of paper. Hopefully, nothing now will slip through the crack if we’ve got the title and the dates. I appreciate you putting it together,” Councilman Doug Mercer told Alligood.

“It forces us to take a look at it every month. No matter what, it forces us to take a look at it, review it and make sure we are where we want to be,” Alligood said. “The big piece for us is to know whether we’re on track or not, and if we’re off schedule, then we want to know what gets on back on schedule and that plan to get us back on schedule.”

The city’s current grants range from $1.5 million for sewer improvements, $1.5 million for water projects to $10,000 to help plan a pedestrian plan and $10,000 to help develop an adopt-a-trail project.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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