New county grants to require matching funds

WINNSBORO – During its regular bi-monthly meeting Monday night, County Council passed final reading on an ordinance establishing procedures that will require municipalities in the county to now put up matching funds when requesting funding from the county for public works projects.

The ordinance applies to capital improvements on a one-time, non-reoccurring basis that serve a defined public purpose such as downtown revitalization, recreation or public safety. The ordinance specifies that the funds must be expended to achieve the overall public need and good.

The collaborative ordinance will require matches from the towns of at least 15 percent and as much as 50 percent of the request.

“We did not previously require matching funds from the towns,” Council Chairman Billy Smith said. “For instance, when the Town of Jenkinsville requested $50,000 from the County several years ago for sidewalks, we gave them the whole amount. With this ordinance, we will require a percentage of the requested funds to be matched by the requesting town,” Smith said. “This is a common practice with funding agencies.”

The first grant issued under the new ordinance is expected to be a $180,000 grant to the Town of Winnsboro for repairing the Fortune Springs swimming pool, Smith said. The Administrative and Finance Committee voted Monday evening, following the Council meeting, to recommend that Council require a 50 percent match ($90,000) from Winnsboro.

Another request on the horizon is one that was made last year by the Town of Ridgeway. The Town is seeking a total of $500,000 for an extensive sidewalk project and has applied for a $400,000 grant from the SCDOT Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) which requires matching funds of 20 percent ($100,000) from the Town. Of that $100,000, the Town has applied for $43,000 from the Fairfield County Transportation Committee (CTC) and $57,000 from Fairfield County. Under the County’s new collaborative ordinance, Smith said Ridgeway will be asked to match 15 – 20 percent of that $57,000.

“That’s not much for the Town to pay for $500,000 of sidewalk improvements to the town,” Smith said.

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