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City Board of Public Works & Safety Approve Grant Opportunity

October 31, 2013

11/01/13 Monday evening members of the Board of Public Works and Safety motioned to move forward with a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) grant to purchase additional property in the flood plain. 

City Attorney Sean Surrisi told members that FEMA had approved the city for an additional grant in April of this year but it wasn’t until work was being completed to close out a previous grant to purchase properties in flood prone areas that the additional money came to light.  Surrisi blamed the mix-up on a gap in communication. 

Leftover 2011 funds allocated to Indiana hadn’t found a project and so the funds were marked for the city’s project of purchasing homes and properties in the flood plain.  The total amount of funds available to the city is $385,430.  The grant does require a 25% match totaling $96,357. 

Surrisi explained that the grant is for the possible purchase of properties at:

301 Garro Street, owner: Shienna, Inc.   already purchased by city

  401 Cleveland Street, owner Joseph Coffin

  320 E. LaPorte Street, owners: John & Wende Kratchmarhome & vacant land

  321 E. LaPorte Street , owner Kenneth Keil

  323 E. LaPorte Street, owners:Kathy & Leonard Hess, home & 2 vacant lots

Mayor Mark Senter explained that no property owner will be forced to sell.  The city will approach the various owners to find their interest in the program.  Those who are interested will then have to opportunity to work with the city on the grant project. 

The city attorney will investigate the possibility of purchasing other properties if those listed above are not interested. 

Mayor Senter also noted that with the most recent FEMA flood plain grant IHCDA (Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority) reimbursed the city’s their required matching funds.  He said IHCDA also has grant money remaining and would be willing to reimburse the city for the match on this new grant so ultimately it would cost the city nothing.