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S.O.S. receives permission to re-apply for grant

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Serving On The Streets Director Jenni Chamberlain
One area organization is taking the adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" to heart.

During Wednesday's meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil, permission was granted for Serving on the Streets (S.O.S.) to re-apply for a $500,000 Community Focus Fund Grant for the renovation of the old Brazil Junior High Gymnasium.

"There were several organizations that went in for the grant funding this last time around," S.O.S. Director Jenni Chamberlain told The Brazil Times Thursday about not being awarded the grant in June. "So it was very competitive and when we talked to representatives from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) they told us it is rare for a group to get the grant the first time out."

Chamberlain said S.O.S. received additional pointers on how to improve the grant application, and said they are still moving forward with the renovations.

"Right now, we are planning on the renovations as if we don't get the grant, even though we are applying again," she said. "We will be working to collect donations to complete repairs on the roof and install heating in the gym."

She added there could be a benefit in not getting the grant this time.

"It allows us more time to collect donations and letters and support from the community, and hopefully we will not have to take out a loan for the match," Chamberlain said.

"Plus, if we are able to get the roof and heating done, that will be helpful as maybe we won't have to request as much in a grant, which could also mean the loan won't be needed."

If a loan is needed, Chamberlain said it would not have to be taken out unless S.O.S. is awarded the grant.

The initial proposal is due July 22, with the full application needing to be turned in sometime in August. Chamberlain told The Brazil Times she believed notice of the grant awards would come sometime in July 2012.

For more information about Serving on the Streets, or to make a donation, call 448-8700.

Meanwhile, the council approved a pair of measures to solidify some purchasing policies.

With suspended rules, an ordinance establishing a petty cash fund was approved on the first reading.

City Attorney Traci Lawson said the fund is essentially in conjunction with the credit card policy and could possibly alleviate the need to use credit cards on smaller purchases.

"The ordinance allows the fund to have a maximum of $200, which may be used on smaller needs, like the mailing of certified letters," Lawson said.

In addition, after months of discussion and deliberation, the amended Credit Card Policy was also unanimously approved.

The updated policy meets the regulations set forth by the Indiana State Board of Accounts and states the Clerk-Treasurer is responsible for maintaining the cards on the General Fund side of the city, the police chief holds the card for the police department and the Utilities Office manager controls the ones used by the water, wastewater and related utility departments.

The policy also requires an in-depth log be kept that shows who checks out the cards, when they are brought back, the purpose of using the card and how much is spent. In addition, receipts for the purchases must be turned in at the same time the card is returned.

In other business during Wednesday's meeting, the council:

* Accepted the first reading of a Special Floodplain Ordinance. Lawson explained it is an update of a previous ordinance and includes new language, along with new federal and state statutes. She added the ordinance is required in order for the city to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program and must be approved before the new floodplain maps go into effect Sept. 2, and

* Received information on unsafe housing conditions from concerned residents in Cooper Towers. Joyce Borders and fellow residents presented pictures of the conditions to the council and stated mold is appearing, along with roaches and fleas. Brazil Planning Administrator Stacy Gibbens said she would review the photos and contact the Health Department if necessary. The council also informed the concerned residents the building, which is run by the Brazil Housing Authority, is under federal housing regulations.

The Common Council will conduct a special meeting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 27, in the Council Chambers of City Hall to consider animal control.

The council's next regular meeting will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the same location.

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