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County begins needs assessment

January 10, 2013

A few weeks ago Clay County District 4 Supervisor Shelton Deanes advised other Clay County supervisors that the county should not wait around for funding before coming up with a project on which those funds could be used. And Thursday, during the Clay County Board of Supervisors’ second meeting of the new year, the message was delivered once again.
But this time the message came from Spencer Brooks with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, an agency that has helped Clay County for years in securing grants and other funding for county improvement projects. Brooks provided Clay County supervisors with a general needs assessment form, which he said is usually submitted with the county’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application. He said the assessment will give supervisors an idea of the types of projects out there that the board may need financial assistance for and gives the board a starting point on planning projects for the year.
“It kind of allows you to prioritize what’s going on,” Brooks said. “What we do with a lot of boards is each individual supervisor would fill it out for their district and then we combine them all and make a prioritized list for the county. This is by no means specific. It is a very broad idea of things you may see out in your county, and it helps us whenever we have grant funds available. We have an idea of what’s going on with this board and this county, and instead of us coming over and saying ‘We have this going on, let’s come up with a project’ we have a list of projects we can go down.”
Brooks told the board it’s never to early to begin planning projects and the earlier the board approves projects and provides documentation the easier the process for getting grants to fund those projects.
Clay County Chancery Clerk Amy Berry asked when will the county know when the legislature will provide funding for grants, such as the Small Municipality Limited Population Grant, and other small grants the county depends on. Brooks said the thing for the county to do is get in touch with their legislators, who are the ones approving and issuing funds for different grant programs like CBDG. He said there was no bond bill last year and said Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves has already expressed he does not want to issue bonds again this year.
“We really don’t want it to go two years in a row because as we all know the longer something stays over here on the side it’s forgotten about,” Brooks said.
CBDG funds have been slashed multiple times, he said, and more cuts are expected.

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