The recent county-wide income survey identified the 53% of residents fall within the low to moderate income level that qualifies the county to apply for federal grants. The county has started the process of applying for an economic development strategic planning grant of $40,000. Economic Development Plans_OCRA Technical Requirements
Development of the plan will include community meetings where citizens will have the opportunity to ask questions, provide input and identify what they want and do not want in terms of economic development. A consulting firm has been selected
Thomas P Miller and Associates. Once the application is submitted, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), OCRA has 30 days to approve or disapprove the application.
Commissioners Biddle expressed concern in 2017 (see below) that the status of the OCRA Grant ($400,000) to build the Van Buren fire station may be an issue for the county. Depending on how this issue is resolved, OCRA could delay approving any additional grants. The county may need a Plan B (self-funding?) in order to develop the economic development strategic plan.
Brown County Democrat – Articles on the fire station issue and disputes between the township trustee and Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department (Feb 2017 to Present)
Feb 20, 2018 – Since the Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department had its contract with the Van Buren Township trustee severed in July, OCRA is not recognizing Van Buren … Grants from the Community Development Block Grant program through OCRA and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority are …
New fire department being formed in county as Van Buren Fire, township leaders settle lawsuit
Jul 11, 2017 – PIKES PEAK — The Van Buren Township Advisory Board has agreed to a monetary settlement with the Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department, ending … when an emergency call is made could be a little less clear, as both Van Buren Fire and a new entity, Southern Brown Volunteer Fire Department Inc., are …
Feb 28, 2017 – A lawsuit between the Van Buren Township trustee and advisory board and the Van Buren volunteer firefighters and fire board is proceeding to a jury trial — but not for another five to eight months. After meeting with lawyers for the township and the fire department, Brown Circuit Judge Judith Stewart set the …
Whether or not the Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department keeps operating as a fire department has an impact on the county as a whole, and not just because of fire protection.When the firefighters, Payne and other volunteers succeeded in October 2012 at getting a $400,000 grant to build the Van Buren fire station, the Brown County Commissioners were listed as the grant recipient, with the fire department as the subrecipient.
The grant agreement with the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs says the building must remain a fire station for five years.
Commissioner Diana Biddle said there’s been some concern over the life of this dispute about the county’s liability to that grant if the station folds.
She said it’s even more complex because ownership of the land is in the name of the Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department, which is its own entity separate from township government.