By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution in support of a grant for drainage improvements in Seeley.

The approval of this resolution is to submit a grant application for Proposition 84 fund through the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. Along with this action, the Board authorized the County Share of Payment for Grant Writer and use the City of Imperial as the lead agency for the Grant, to file the application and execute the agreement with the State of California for Implementation of the grant.

County Public Works Director Bill Burnett said that the IRWMP Project Work Group, as its January 10, 2013 meeting, reviewed a list of twenty prioritized projects for the Imperial region. The group agreed to involve as many agencies as possible in the application, and will compete against other regions for $5.24 million in grants funds.

The County’s project, Drainage Improvement in the Township of Seeley, was one of the projects chosen. “The goal of this project is to provide the Township of Seeley with much needed drainage infrastructure.” Burnett said.

The estimated cost of the project is $1,916 795. The County will request a match waiver, which is allowed by the grant, because of Seeley is classified as a Disadvantage Community. Should the waiver not be approved, the grant requires a 25% match, in which case the grant will fund $1,437,597, and the County’s match will be $479,198.  Funds for the match, if needed, will come for the Highway Users Tax Account funds.

Burnett added that the members have agreed to hire a grant writer in order to produce the grant funding, since the other two competing regions already have grant writers on board, and because of the fast approaching grand deadline set for March 29. The City of Imperial agreed to be the lead agency for the Grant application and administration. The City also agreed to circulate the Request for Proposal for a grant writer. The affected agencies agreed to share the funding responsibility for the grant writer.

The chosen grant writing services firm was Townsend Public Affairs. The County’s prorated cost for the grant writer will be in an amount not exceed $5,000.

Supervisor Jack Terrazas inquired that if having City of Imperial as the lead agency will affect the grant since Seeley is a disadvantage community. City Manager Marlene Best said that it will not affect since the grant is targeted to Seeley and they will just be the lead agency in this process. Best mentioned that this is a very competitive grant and the County will compete with Coachella Valley and Mojave for these funds.

The Board approved this resolution with unanimous vote.

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