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Grant control vote delayed

Crystal River will apply for a housing block grant, but the City Council decided late Monday to delay hiring someone to administer the project until after the grant is awarded.

That means the company that, at no cost to the city, has written the grant application, interviewed potential grant recipients, and reviewed ordinances to ensure the city is eligible for federal funds, may not get the paid job of running the project.

The council followed recommendations from both City Manager Merv Waldrop and David Wilcox, part of the law firm that represents the city.

Before the city changed the category of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) it was seeking, the council had voted to let Clark, Roumelis & Associates Inc. administer the grant.

At that time, attorney Charles Vaughn of the city's law firm said the city could let the company administer the grant without seeking competitive bids. But after further research, Wilcox told the council in a memo that it should have sought other proposals.

So when Clark, Roumelis & Associates asked for a new contract because of the new category of grant and also asked for a raise from 8 percent to 15 percent of the total grant amount, the city reviewed it's decision to hire the firm.

Also during Monday's meeting, the council held the second and final public hearing on the grant, which could provide up to $500,000 to repair at least 27 homes of low-income city residents.

The grant application is due Friday and the council will call a special meeting later this week to approve the last of a series of ordinances that will make it eligible to receive federal grant money.

Boys and Girls Club: The council also voted to issue a letter of intent to lease the teen center to the local residents who are attempting to form a Boys and Girls Clubs of America group for the area. While the group gets organized, the city will schedule groups to use the building for a fee of $10 for half a day and a damage deposit.

EPA fine: Council members reluctantly accepted a consent order with the Environmental Protection Agency formalizing the $75,000 fine levied against the city for violations at the wastewater treatment plant. Officials hope to cut the fine by as much as $24,000 if work on the new sewer treatment facilities can be done by March 12.

Up next:Obituaries

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