Economic Development Strategic Plan

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)
Brown County Democrat –  Letter: The Van Buren VFD issue revisited 

Mar 6, 2018.   Letter supporting the actions of the Van Buren Trustee

Commissioner on fire station issue: We can work this out. 

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 …

Feb 14, 2018 – Brown County will not be eligible to apply for grants from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs until it is able to resolve a years-long debate regarding the Van BurenVolunteer Fire Department. The county commissioners have been given three options, said OCRADeputy Director Matt Crouch.

Residents, leaders discuss Van Buren fire station future

Feb 14, 2018 – VAN BUREN TWP. — The Van Buren Volunteer Fire Department board and at least one county commissioner have pledged to meet and work through issues with ownership of the fire station which are preventing Brown County from receiving state grants. One option could be dissolving theVan Buren …
New volunteer fire department ready to roll – Brown County Democrat
Oct 3, 2017 – Southern Brown Volunteer Fire Department plans to start responding to fire, medical and other emergencies on Oct. 15. Its primary response area will be south of State Road 46 in and around Van Buren Township, but firefighters and emergency medical responders will be available to assist other …

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 …

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