(Feb. 5, 2021) A West Ocean City resident’s request for the county’s help in his pursuit of state aid to address flooding at his residence fell victim Wednesday to the complicated nature of the process.
Deeley Chester had hoped to obtain a grant from the state’s Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program to prevent the nuisance flooding that occurs on his property near Herring Creek. The problem, however, is that the program provides grants to local governments, not private citizens.
The application for the grant had been sent to the program’s administrators, but bore no county commissioner signatures, Review and Permitting Director Ed Tudor told the commissioners.
“It does require an actual jurisdiction to apply for this grant,” Tudor said, which meant the county, not Chester, would have to be the applicant.
“While we fully support an individual’s desire to raise their house and get it out of the flood plain and address their recent flooding, there are a number of issues with these types of grants that I think that you all need to be aware of,” he said.
Tudor explained that the program awards grants to cover up to 75 percent of the cost of a project, leaving the applicant — in this case, the county — responsible for the remaining 25 percent.
Chester was advised that he also might need a legal agreement with the commissioners that would shift that burden to himself, along with the responsibility for the distribution of funds, project bidding, liability and insurance coverage.
“There is a whole issue dealing with bidding for the project,” Tudor said. “Any state monies, when they are involved in a project like this, are required that there be a bidding process with a female and minority business enterprises. There’s a whole litany of things you have to go through with that, of which of course, the county would be responsible because we would be the grantee in that case.”
Commissioner President Joseph Mitrecic asked Tudor if the county could require Chester to pay the 25 percent and any costs to the county for the bidding process through a contract. Tudor replied that he believes the commissioners could, but that grants of this nature “tended to develop into much more than we anticipated.”
Although Chester agreed to cover the 25 percent and any administrative expenses of the grant, a motion by Commissioner Bud Church to approve Chester’s request died for lack of a second.