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Clintonville hopes grants can reduce borrowing

Capital spending cuts likely will remain necessary

By Bert Lehman

In an effort to get an early start on planning its 2020-24 capital improvement projects, the Clintonville Finance Committee discussed the matter at its April 8 meeting.

“It’s pretty evident that there’s more requests and needs than there are funds, so we’re going to have to make some pretty serious cuts and some pretty major decisions for our capital purchases if we are going to stick with reducing our borrowing,” Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland said.

Eveland said the city should continue to plan to reduce borrowing.

Working in favor of the city is the Community Development Block Grant Program has raised its ceiling from $500,000 to $1 million, Eveland said.

She added she has already directed the city’s public works director and the city’s water and wastewater director to put together programming under the assumption the city would receive a $1 million grant from CDBG.

“That’s one of the things I really hope we’re able to make happen,” Eveland said. “I think being able to do more streets and get some of this stuff done is really going to make the community happy.”

Eveland added the city would continue to pursue the Rural Development Community Facilities Grant each year for equipment for the Clintonville Public Works Department.

Committee member Jim Supanich said he is glad the city is again discussing its capital improvement projects.

“I’d like to emphasize that we need to look for as many grants as we can,” Supanich said. “Not just for equipment and streets repair, but there are grants out there for parks and rec and a variety of other things that would help us in many areas.”

The city last borrowed $1.8 million.

“The only direction I’ve been given is to reduce [borrowing] for the next cycle, so I’m anticipating reducing it $50,000 right now,” Eveland said. “But again, that does require a lot of prioritizing. I’m telling you here right now the department heads are probably not going to be happy when we have to start cutting things.”

Supanich reminded the committee that the city has committed to its auditors that the city will reduce its borrowing.

“It’s not really optional,” Supanich said. “The reason we did that is because we were going to lose our bond rating and there were some real concerns about how much more interest we’d have to pay for the monies we’re going to borrow.”

Supanich also acknowledged the city would have to make tough decisions about what projects it does and what equipment it purchases.

The committee plans to discuss its capital improvement projects again in May.

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