Brenham city officials met Thursday to hold a public hearing on the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program, and what city projects may be eligible for grant funding.
The hearing, which drew no attendance from the public, featured discussion on the over $4.2 billion in funds administered by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) to communities in Texas affected by storm events in recent years. The funds can be used to build and implement structural and non-structural projects, programs, and partnerships to reduce the risks and impacts of future natural disasters.
Public Works Director Dane Rau said the city has initially identified 34 drainage-related projects to be funded through the grant program, and is looking at applying for up to $10 million in assistance for all projects. He expects more projects to be added by the time the project list is completed by August 22nd. He added that the project list is subject to change based on fund eligibility and availability.
The first tier of projects, which are considered to be priorities, totals $5.1 million, while the total cost for the second tier is to be determined. Some of the drainage projects the city is seeking to obtain grant funding for are improvements at Niebuhr and Rosenbaum Streets, Burleson Street at the low water crossing, Hogg Branch at Pecan Street, and North Saeger and Jefferson Streets.
Rau noted that the Drainage Utility Charge, established in January, was created in order to fund these projects, but the city is seeking grant assistance in order to more immediately fund and address certain drainage projects. If the city does not receive full funding, the remainder of the projects that were not funded will be addressed using funds from the Drainage Utility Charge over the next 10-15 years.
In recent city council meetings, the city selected Public Management, Inc. to serve as grant administrator and Strand Associates as grant engineer throughout the grant process. No funds will be paid out to either company unless the city is selected for the grant, which would then cover the fees for each company. If the city receives the grant, it will be responsible for 1 percent of the matching grant award; this will be funded through the city’s drainage utility fund.
Rau anticipates going before council with a grant application for approval October 1st, and plans to submit the application to the GLO the week of October 7th.