KEYSER - The Keyser City Council gave their new grant writer the go-ahead this week to proceed with a grant application which they hope will eventually lead to a new City Hall and police station.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser City Council gave their new grant writer the go-ahead this week to proceed with a grant application which they hope will eventually lead to a new City Hall and police station.
The council approved a contract with David Smarik in September for services in researching, applying for and administering grant funding for various projects in the city.
Wednesday, Smarik gave his first report to the mayor and council, noting that the first task he had been given “was to find a grant for City Hall and  a police station.”
In researching possible grant funding, Smarik said the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers grants for small rural communities and Keyser falls into that category.
“They have grants to bring in a technical advisor,” he said, noting that the construction of a new municipal building would be a “multi-year multi-phase project” with a need for someone to oversee the project.
“I would recommend that bringing someone in would be our first approach,” he said. “It’s going to be a pretty complex project.”
Smarik suggested applying for a Community Facilities and Technical Training Assistance grant, which has a total of $1.5 million available and up to $150,000 available to each successful applicant.
According to Smarik, matching funds would not be required from the city, but in-kind contributions are encouraged.
“They’re really pushing for partnerships,” he said, explaining that such agencies as FEMA and Homeland Security could be utilized as partners.
As for a grant from the USDA, Smarik said the city would have to obtain some loans to complete funding for such a large project.
“It would be a long-term loan, though, so it wouldn’t really have a huge impact on the city budget,” he said.
Council member Mike Ryan expressed his frustration at the current lack of any long-term plans for the city.
“One of the problems we have is we have no long-range plan for anything,” he said.
Ryan made a motion to approve Smarik’s application for a technical consultant for the project, and William Zacot seconded it.
The motion passed 4-0, with council member Jennifer Junkins absent.
Mayor Damon Tillman said the city building was chosen as a priority project because “it’s falling down. There’s leaks all over and the ceiling is falling.
“It’s nickel and diming us to death,” he said. “We don’t need to put a bandaid on it when we can get a new building.”
Later in the meeting the council did approve some immediate repairs to the building, including replacing some doors, at a cost of $1,545.