Multimedia Journalist

Russellville stormwater project faces financial hurdle

RUSSELLVILLE — Russellville is facing funding challenges to a stormwater project intended to address localized flooding and streets.

The city received a $220,000 grant from the Cole County Commission last August for the stormwater infrastructure project. The city also applied for federal funds from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In an application for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, officials outlined infrastructure needs to address flooding that damaged Marion Street and parts of Route C.

Officials with the Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission told the Russellville Board of Aldermen on Thursday there could be complications with locking in the federal funding.

“In order to qualify for the block grant funding, you have to be a low- or moderate-income community,” said commission Executive Director David Bock. “CDBG received orders from HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) — that’s where there money comes from on the federal level — they have new numbers to use effective April 1. Our grant is due May 31, so you’re going to have to use new numbers.”

The city must have 51 percent or more of its residents in the low- to moderate-income range to qualify for the grant. Bock said the 2010 numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show 61.43 percent of Russellville residents were in the low- to moderate-income range.

However, new numbers for 2015 from the American Community Survey show Russellville as ineligible for the grant, with 48.5 percent of residents in the low- to moderate-income range.

CDBG defines low- to moderate-income for a family of one to earn no more than $40,050; the maximum qualifying income for a four-person household is $57,200.

Bock recommended Russellville do its own income survey to clarify the data for the CDBG. The board moved to send an explanation of the issue and a survey to residents with their next water bill. The survey will be anonymous.

“By the community responding to these surveys, it sets up Russellville for future funding opportunities,” board member Tina Amick said.

The board agreed residents who return the survey receive a $3 credit on their next water bill.

Bock said it’s an important opportunity for the city to apply for the federal funds while it has the Cole County grant to use as a match.

Under the city’s agreement with Cole County, Russellville has two years to get the project bid. If the city doesn’t receive the federal grant, it will look for other funding.

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