Grant updates a wise move

Published 8:32 pm Monday, February 24, 2014



During its meeting Monday night, the Washington City Council spent time reviewing a list of grants the city has obtained or is in the process of seeking. That monthly review was started this year, in part to help the council keep abreast of the status of the grants so it can better prepare future budgets for the city.

The city’s grants help pay for building low-income housing, public restrooms on the waterfront, water and sewer improvements and new recreational facilities. Some grants help pay for planning items such as the parks and recreation comprehensive master plan and updating the city’s land-use plan.

The city’s grants can range from $10,000 to help plan a project to $1 million to help rebuild buildings destroyed by a natural disaster. Keeping track of those grants makes sense.

“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 last month when he explained the reasoning behind the monthly grant updates. “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 grant updates, especially during this time of the year, will help the council better prepare the budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Getting better control over the spending taxpayers’ dollars — and much of the grant money the city gets comes from tax-funded programs — is always a good thing. These updates will help assure the city and taxpayers are getting the most out of the grants the city obtains.