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Johnson County discusses matching funds for state road grants

Jonathan Pleasant, The Tomahawk • Feb 26, 2014 at 2:28 PM

MOUNTAIN CITY — With budgets only getting tighter, county finances have increasingly taken the forefront when it comes to making tough decisions. That fact was quite evident from the lengthy discussion between Road Superintendent Tony Jennings and members of the County Commission last Thursday night as the board weighed out the benefits of pursuing federal grant funding that has been made available for multiple bank stabilization and roadway safety projects around the county.

Conducted through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Jennings has already completed many similar projects, both after recent flooding events and in the past. However, while the work brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars in much needed funding that largely goes toward work that would have had to be done anyway, Jennings was concerned about the substantial matching funds and additional costs that are an unavoidable part of the work.

Currently NRCS pays about 75 percent of the applicable costs of installing the rock, performing the work, and purchasing some materials leaving the county responsible for the remaining 25 percent. Further, some items such as crusher run gravel and culverts are not covered by the NRCS contract, making these outside costs that are in addition to the project as covered under the county’s contract.

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