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Helper Applies for Cdbg Funding

By Sun Advocate

The Helper City Council met Aug. 21 to discuss one topic: money.
The agenda included two votes on purchases for the city. A trailer for the water department at a cost of $895 was approved, as well as a used bucket truck for $12,000.
“I just don’t know that we can get by without it,” Mayor Joe Bonaaci commented.
The 1994 Chevrolet truck has 130,000 miles and will be purchased from BJ Motors. It will be used for many city needs, including hanging Christmas lights, Bonaaci said.
The major issue before the council was an application for a community development block grant (CDBG) for funds to improve the current water crisis.
CDBG is a federal program administered by Utah Community and Economic Development.
Helper resident Debbie Hatt, a representative of the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Government (SEUALG), tipped the council off to the existence of CDBG emergency funds.
SEUALG administers the CDBG program for the southeastern region.
Normally, application deadlines for the CDBG are one year in advance. However, SEUALG has approved Helper’s petition to apply for the grant funds early based on the city’s emergency need for the money.
The city council will make a presentation to the state CDBG board on Aug. 26.
“It is not a done deal,” said Hatt. “It’s a competitive process. You fill out all of the paperwork and cross your fingers.”
According to Hatt, any city that applies for a CDBG has to demonstrate that there is no other way for the funds to be acquired.
The Helper council members indicated that the city is indebted to Hatt for the information she provided.
“I was pulling my hair out wondering how we were going to get the money,” said Rob Welch, who serves as councilman over the water department “(Hatt’s assistance) opened up a lot of doors for everyone in this town.”
The city’s petition will request up to $250,000 for the multi-year project. Helper officials intend to use the money to repair several miles of damaged pipe coming down from Fish Creek, where the city gets it’s water.
If Helper receives the CDBG funds, the city will need additional funding to pay for the project, said Hatt.
The city will petition other funding sources for the project, including the Utah Community Impact Board.
In other council business, the members discussed the success of the Helper Arts Festival, which took place Aug. 15-17.
Council member Chuck Buchanan, who also served on the arts festival committee, said the local business people and the festival vendors were very happy with the turnout.
Most of the art festival committee will stay on for next year’s festival. The committee has already begun to plan for the 2004 festival, according to Buchanan.

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