Financial aid for sewer project still available

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Residents in Franklin Township still have time to reapply for financial assistance to connect to a new sewer system.

“Some people’s financial situation may have changed, so they can reapply and see if they are eligible for financial assistance,” said John Fleshman, township trustee at a recent board meeting. “When some residents applied, they may have not qualified for assistance, but now they are retired or less people live in their home, so they may be eligible now.”

The financial assistance is through the Franklin County Department of Sanitary Engineering and is for the Mon-E-Bak and Broad Road East sewer connection project.

“Residents who live in the Mon-E-Bak neighborhood and Brown Road East must connect to the sewer system,” said Stephen Renner, director of sanitary engineering for Franklin County. “Both areas have been identified as having sever water quality issues by Franklin County Public Health. Septic tanks in these areas are leaking and polluting the streams and rivers.”

Renner said it is their duty to sewer the areas, therefore a new system has been built. However, residents will have to pay to connect to the system.

According to Renner, it will cost Franklin Township residents between $9,000 and $12,000 to connect to the system.

“Approximately 600 homes will be connecting to the system, however we anticipate nearly half the population in the project area to qualify for the financial assistance program,” Renner said.

Residents who receive financial aid assistance will receive a zero percent interest loan.

“If you qualify, we will put a lien on the parcel and each year the lien will decrease by 10 percent,” Renner said. “By 10 years it goes away. It is like receiving a grant.”

If residents want to get an additional loan on their property for home improvements or other projects, the lien can take second position and the new loan can take the first position.

However, Renner said if a homeowner sells their home, they or the new homeowner would need to pay back the loan.

Fleshman said after granting the first round of financial aid, the county has about 15 more spots available for financial assistance.

For a financial aid application, contact the department of sanitary engineering at 614-525-3940.

In other news, the board discussed the sale of blighted properties in the township.

“In group one we have sold five properties and have received approximately $112,000,” said Robyn Watkins, assistant fiscal officer for Franklin Township. “In group two we have about two to three properties we will be selling.”

According to leadership, the properties the township owns were given to the township due to them being abandoned, blighted or owed past taxes.

“All the money raised from the sale of these houses will go into a capital improvement fund and be used for improvements in the community,” Fleshman said. “That could be used to build a community meeting place, a separate building for the police department or expanding parking at township hall. It won’t be used for salaries and will be reinvested in the community.”

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