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City Council: Members pass dump-truck purchase, discuss block grants

In addition to approving the purchase of a new dump truck, Athens City Council members held the first of two public hearings about how to use the next round of block grants awarded to the city.

The city expects about $70,000 in grant money this year, Mayor Paul Wiehl said at yesterday’s city council committee meeting.

The grants, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, distributes funds to states based on a formula that takes into account population, poverty, incidence of overcrowded housing and age of housing.

In the past, Athens has used the grants to repair Mill and Mary streets as well as Harold Avenue, Wiehl said.

“We’ve used it for mostly infrastructure, capital improvements,” Wiehl said.

“(Today we’ll) field questions and see what’s possible, and the second (public hearing) we’ll narrow it down to see what the next projects will be and what the next step is.”

When asked whether or not the block grant money could be used on private property, such as worn down houses on the west side, Wiehl said that could possibly be handled through Community Housing Improvement Program grants but not block.

After the hearing, council members approved an ordinance to spend about $82,500 on a new 2011 Ford F450 dump truck and accessories.

The truck will be available for use year-round because of a heated bed and snow-blade attachment, said Councilwoman Chris Knisely, D-at Large.

Although it is a lot of money to spend, Councilwoman Nancy Bain, D-3rd Ward said the 25-year-old truck needs to be replaced.

"Even though times are tough, it's a must do," Bain said.


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