County governments join forces for grant

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, June 11, 2009

When it’s time to apply for grants, Pike County governments often find themselves battling for funds.

But, this time, most of Pike County’s government entities have decided to ban together in hopes of securing money for one central cause — energy.

As part of the federal stimulus package, municipalities within the state of Alabama will have a shot at competing for portions of $6 million through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

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“The reason we are doing the collaborative application is that we were initially told from ADECA they thought a collaborative effort would be looked upon more favorable than just single applications,” said Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.

The $6 million sum is just part of the total the state will receive for these projects, but Pike County’s towns will compete with several other “non-entitlement” communities for this grant money.

Troy, Banks and Goshen City Councils, along with the Pike County Commission will join forces in hopes of receiving $1 million to support a revolving energy loan.

The Brundidge City Council will seek a grant separately, Gaylard said.

If awarded, Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said he isn’t sure exactly how the grant would be used, but it would be used within the county to support energy savings projects.

“If we get the million dollars, we would set up a revolving loan fund, and if any company out there wanted to come in and put up an energy-saving project, they could borrow from it,” Lunsford said.

Gaylard said the entities will file a preliminary application Friday, but will have to wait to file a final application. If awarded, Gaylard said the PCEDC would use guidelines given by the Department of Energy to loan the money.

And, if awarded this grant it will not be just a one-time project.

Lunsford said since it is a revolving loan, money will continuously stay in the fund and provide several opportunities to support energy-efficient projects.

“We would be trying to stimulate the economy, so I wouldn’t think we’d go outside of Pike County,” Lunsford said. “It would be $1 million in an energy revolving loan available for projects in Pike County.”

The city of Troy is the main entity on the application, but the others have joined in. Gaylard said a total of $250,000 can be sought by each city, bringing the collaborative total to $1 million.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said the project is one he is proud the county can take part in.

“The county commission found this the best opportunity to do that, and it’s always a good idea to cooperate with other government entities in the county, so that’s what we’re doing,” Sanders said.

Goshen Mayor Jack Waller and Banks Mayor Dewayne Henderson could not be reached for comment.