Kline explains CAO#8217;s work to city

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Ironton City Council had three things on the agenda during a special meeting on Wednesday night — talk to Ralph Kline, rocks on the river bank and police cars.

Kline, the assistant director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, answered the various questions that the councilmen put to him about CAO’s services to the city.

Kline said the CAO responded to an ad in The Ironton Tribune the city placed for a non-profit agency to administer community development block grant funds. The CAO put in a response to the ad.

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Kline explained that the city pays $35,000, but that the agency, which per state law, has to bill by the hour and last year, billed about $44,000 to the city for doing business for them.

Kevin Waldo asked if there was any carryover, to which Kline replied no. Waldo then asked if it was like that every year where the agency just had to eat the $9,000 in losses and Kline said yes.

Kline said the agency bills for legal ads, training, transportation costs and when they have to pay for consultant fees. He said that when a grant comes with administration money, they bill the grant. He added that many things like administering the tax abatement don’t have a source of administration funds.

Waldo said he was concerned originally because he didn’t fully understand what CAO did as far as economic development, and he was concerned that the agency was being supported by the city and the county while villages that were benefiting from the CAO’s work were not paying the CAO.

Kline explained that sometimes grants have certain requirements that may fit in a smaller municipality and not a city.

Butch Huff said that this was the first time it was ever explained in detail.

“After looking at it and going over the documents, I’d say we’re getting more than our money’s worth,” he said.

Kline also explained that while the downtown lofts project had low-income tax credits attached to the project, it was not subsidized housing.

He said that the rent per loft was going to be $430 and that each potential renter had to pay for the loft out of their pocket.

He said the aim was to get in young professional singles or couples without children.

“If a person has no income, can’t be there because they can’t pay the $430, it is not subsidized,” Kline said.

“It is to encourage kids who get out of college to come back here,” he said. “These lofts won’t really be appropriate for large families and wouldn’t have the amenities that large families require.”

He cited an example of a renter where there income may only be $10,000 but that was because they were in college and their parents would pay the rent.

He said that once the person graduated, they could still live there even with a full-time, professional job because there is an income limit to get in but not an income limit after that.

“They could make $60,000 after graduation and they can still live there,” he said.

Kline said that he is always available to talk to councilmen if they had any questions and they all had his e-mail address.

The council will decide later whether to submit a new resolution or ordinance to make the CAO the grant administrator for the city again. It will most likely be discussed at a finance committee meeting.

As for putting rocks and netting on the bank of the Ohio River to prevent erosion, the motion was tabled last Thursday because there were questions as to whether it would be effective. Frank Murphy, who had questioned the usefulness of the measure, said he had looked into it and was satisfied.

The city police department had requested eight new cruisers to replace several vehicles that were over the 100,000-mile mark. Through the state purchasing agreement, Ford was going to sell the department the eight vehicles for $69,282.51 annually for the next three years.

Both ordinances passed unanimously.