Union County Foundation (UCF) executive director Danka Klein and Union County commissioner Howard Curry pleaded the case to seek a grant coordinator at Liberty Town Council’s June 7 meeting.

Klein explained the search is a group effort with UCF and Union County having signed on; the third and final piece to the puzzle is the Town of Liberty. The three entities hope to hire a grant coordinator to ensure all three are working together to promote growth in the community.

Curry referenced the growth that has exploded in Rushville and Rush County, which has developed as the county and city began working together and hired a dedicated grant coordinator to seek funding sources for community projects. He suggested the only way for the community to stay competitive seeking and attaining grants, a dedicated coordinator is needed.

LTC president Matt Barnhizer agreed, “Nowadays we all have full-time jobs, most of us have an extra job volunteering for something. There are so many of these grants coming down the pipeline and they’re opportunities that we should be able to grab ahold of … I think having this one dedicated individual, where that’s their sole job … I think it’s a $20,000 investment with a good chance for some good opportunities.”

Jim Williams, who serves as legal counsel for both the LTC and county commissioners, explained this model dates back to the governorship of Mitch Daniels, who sought to establish coordinator positions in communities across the state to encourage communication between different municipal entities throughout both the city and town level of the municipal government. Williams emphasized the need to find the right individual for the position.

The position must be hired as a contract worker because it will be shared between two different government entities and a private organization, employment benefits will not be offered. The proposal calls for $20,000 submitted by each of the three entities involved, totaling $60,000 in annual compensation.

Barnhizer suggested contacting different communities to seek advice and feedback for their search for a coordinator. Klein suggested contacting Rushville/Rush County’s coordinator, Brian Sheehan, for help. Further details will be discussed at the LTC’s June 21 meeting.

Also discussed:
-LTC held a public hearing for an Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant it hopes to use to help fund a water main replacement project. With an estimated cost of $2.1 million, LTC is seeking $700,000 in grant funding.

In order to comply with OCRA requirements, LTC approved a resolution authorizing the grant application as well as a resolution stating funding from the American Recovery Plan will not be used on the water main project. Mike Kleinpeter, grant administrator on the project, explained OCRA is funded with federal dollars and its grants cannot be used on a project funded with federal dollars from another source. LTC also approved Kleinpeter’s contract for the grant. He clarified his contract is contingent upon approval of the grant; if the town’s grant is not approved, they do not pay him.