Block grant funding fiasco — O’Leary: Using grant for jail elevator is ‘nonsense’

O’Leary: Using grant for jail elevator is ‘nonsense’

By Andrew Carter - Galion Inquirer

GALION — Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary voiced his displeasure with the Crawford County Board of Commissioners’ proposed use of block grant funds.

O’Leary spoke out against the proposal by Commissioner Tim Ley to use $80,000 in grant funds to have a new elevator installed in a non-public area at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office and Justice Center, which is home to the county jail.

“I’ve been upset for three weeks, maybe a month,” O’Leary said. “They are hamstringing our project to do this goofy reallocation (of grant funds). It’s just nonsense. I don’t know how you all voted on the jail, but we’re going to fund it until hell freezes over and yet they’re going to take block grant money and put that in an elevator in the jail. I’m upset about it.”

The mayor told council that the city has requested an amendment to the Uptowne grant, but that request is being held up until the county commissioners’ amendment to the formula block grant is prepared for submission to the state. O’Leary was visibly frustrated with the situation.

“I pointed out to both the commissioners and the consultant and talked with people at the state about the situation,” O’Leary said. “I explained to them what I think is pretty straight forward. There are two different grants. The Uptowne grant is a different grant — although it comes through the county — than the formula, and I see no reason in the world to have our grant (delayed), which is sidewalk repair — definitely seasonal. We’re going to run out of time to do a good job (with the repair).”

Council approved an ordinance that will benefit the city’s Victims Assistance Program. Ordinance No. 2019-39 authorized the “submission and acceptance” of grants available through the office of the Ohio Attorney General via the federal Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) and the State Victims Assistance Act (SVAA).

The City of Galion is applying for VOCA funding in the amount of $16,318.07 and SVAA funding totaling $1,1417.76 with a local cash match of $4,079.75 from the city. Those funds will be utilized for the Fiscal Year 2020 City of Galion Victims Assistance Program under the direction of the city Director of Law.

“This dollar amount, which is in (the ordinance), is actually the same dollar amount we’ve received the last two years,” said Director of Law Thomas N. Palmer. “We’ve asked for more the last two years, but for two years in a row we’ve not been awarded what we asked for. So, this year we’re asking for what we want and hopefully we’ll be awarded that amount.”

According to Council Member At-Large Thomas G. Fellner, the funds from the grants will be used to pay the salary for the Victims of Crimes advocate that serves Galion. Jim Scott currently serves in that capacity for the Crawford County Municipal Court’s Eastern Division, according to the City of Galion website.

Council also approved an ordinance transferring and appropriating funds for various uses. The health department was granted an appropriation in the amount of $310.99 for operating supplies.

The following appropriations were approved for debt service-interest expense: $5,000 to the general fund; $2,000 to the State Highway Fund; $6,000 to the sewer fund; and $6,000 to the electric operating fund.

Council approved the following amounts for debt service-principal retirement: $2,000 to the storm water fund; $10 to the general fund.
O’Leary: Using grant for jail elevator is ‘nonsense’

By Andrew Carter

Galion Inquirer