HAZEL — The City of Hazel is pondering a potential grant that could help repair many streets in the city after discussion during its monthly meeting Monday.
City of Hazel Mayor John Paschall said he learned about the grant from members of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet during a public hearing that was hosted in Hazel last month. Paschall said the grant would allow for up to $100,000 in road repairs, should the city be able to secure it. The only stipulation however, was that the city would have to shore up the project funding first, with the grant being used to reimburse the city for the work undertaken.
“I was approached by Mark Welch with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and he said that this is an election year and that a bunch of money has opened up that is normally not here for cities, but you have to be on the list,” Paschall said. “He managed to get us on the list.”
Paschall said he got Murray Paving to look at about eight or nine streets in the city, and those should come to a total cost of around $88,000. The issue at hand Monday night was how the city, should it wish to pursue this grant, could pay for the upfront cost of the work until reimbursement from the state.
Paschall mentioned that he had spoken with the city’s banker, and discussed the avenue of taking a loan and utilizing the city’s certificates of deposit as collateral against the loan.
“If everything goes right, and we should receive something within the next two weeks, we can receive a grant up to $100,000,” Paschall said. “Here is the kicker … we have to pay for it up front and then we will be reimbursed. So Janice and I bounced around a couple of ideas and I talked to our banker. We are talking about $88,000 to $100,000 and we don’t have that much in our budget, but we do have it in CDs.”
Paschall said that once the work is finished, the city might have to pay a little bit in interest on a loan, but that the work in Hazel needs to be completed regardless of where the money comes from. Council members expressed concerns about taking out a potential loan and being left with no help from the state.
“Worst case scenario, we get the money and use the CDs as collateral and they take our money and run,” said Lisa Kell.
“Our if the governor is not re-elected in November and all new people come in, and we are left holding the bag,” said Lori Charlton.
Paschall said the big push from the state for these funds was that it was an election year, and that these projects should be guaranteed in the same way as the U.S. 641 project is.
“I asked the same thing, and that is why this is being done right now,” Paschall said. “This is all in a special fund and it is taken care of. It is like the road fund for the 641 project; they can’t touch it. But if they do leave us holding the bag, we will have a lawsuit. We will get everything in writing to cover ourselves.”
Paschall said that the city should have more information of where it stands with the grant by the next council meeting.