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BOCC approves Block Grant


October 1, 2020

POMEROY-A Community Development Block Grant Agreement in the amount of $17,552, was approved and signed by the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at the regular meeting September 28, 2020.

The Block Grant Agreement is a contract between the City of Pomeroy, Garfield County BOCC, and the Aging and Disability Resource Center, for the purpose of providing funds for the use of rent, mortgage payments, and utilities for eligible individuals who are in need of assistance due to difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The payments will go directly to the entity owed, such as the utility company or landlord. Recently, requests for this type of assistance have been paid through Pomeroy Assist or the Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC), with the exception that the BMAC will not assist with mortgage payments.

Pomeroy Assist began with $32,000 available to assist, but that has been reduced to $10,000 currently. The availability of the new funds will be advertised to the public, along with instructions on how to apply.

Tom Ruchert and Del Groate attended the BOCC meeting as representatives of the Pomeroy Golf Club, to request some assistance with repairing and upgrading the golf cart paths which will provide safety for both the carts and path users

Cost estimates for finishing the project will be put together, and both are hoping to work with the County and the City and other funding sources. Currently, each golf member and golf cart house owner remits $20 per year for pathway maintenance. Those funds could be used as matching dollars for any grants received. In addition, it is expected that a great amount of volunteer work will also be included. The BOCC will give consideration when the cost estimates are presented.

As discussed at the September 21, 2020, meeting, the BOCC signed a Notice of Intent to withdraw from the Washington Counties Risk Pool for property insurance coverage, which will be mailed the same day, September 28, 2020.

The decision was based on the significant increases in premiums that have occurred over the last couple of years, and the expected continuation of those increases in the next couple of years. The County has until April 1, 2021, to make a final decision, based on investigations into alternative insurance opportunities.

Grant Morgan, Garfield County Public Works Director and County Engineer, reported that 21 bridges have been inspected this year. The School House Bridge inspection revealed some different cracking evidence not seen previously. Morgan more investigation was needed. However, the Fairgrounds Road Bridge appears to be holding its own, with no further deterioration since the last inspection. He contends the condition may not be as poor as originally thought, and could be a candidate for repair rather than replacement in the near future.

The County is looking into developing a new website. Morgan’s office has been looking at other county websites as examples of governmental websites, which have specific requirements. The Walla Walla County website seems to be the most applicable to their needs.

The BOCC signed the broadband service agreement with the Port of Garfield, after being approved by Matt Newburg, County Prosecutor. The agreement will allow the County to include the Fairgrounds in Phase 1 of the construction of fiber lines for broadband service, which will be completed at the end of 2020.

Due to the Columbus Day holiday, the BOCC meeting in two weeks will be moved to October 13, 2020. Next week’s meeting will be October 5, 2020, at 9 a.m. The public is invited to attend by teleconference.


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