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County energized to move on with stimulus opportunity

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - There is a check sitting in Washington, D.C., with the county’s name on it for over $289,000.

But there is a little work that must be done before Bullitt County can utilize the federal stimulus funds provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

To make the grant become a reality, Bullitt Fiscal Court retained the services of Bryan Kirby of Community and Economic Development Associates of Richmond. Kirby is no stranger to Bullitt County as he has worked on water grants previously.

Kirby said the brand new grant has a goal of making the county and its residents more energy efficient. There are many ways the grant money could be spent.

The only thing mandated is the development of an energy efficiency strategic plan.

Some of the projects the county could decide to undertake include having non-profit groups help to do retrofits on old appliances to make them more energy efficient; replace old equipment at the Bullitt County Sanitation District facilities to make them more efficient; develop plans for energy conservation programs in county buildings; or money set aside for home energy audits.

Kirby said a citizen task force must be set up and community forums held to discuss the county’s list of goals and strategy. The Department of Energy must approve the strategic plans.

Things must move quickly as the there is a June 25 deadline to get registered, which Kirby would do after the court’s approval of his contract.

County attorney Walter Sholar said his only concern was that the court not be obligated to anything until it has seen the federal contract for the grant program.

If it is a matching grant situation, Sholar said the county might not be in a position to meet those obligations.

With the letter of intent, there is no financial compensation for Kirby. His compensation would come with the awarding of the grant funds to the county.

In a related matter, Kirby said he is working with the sanitation district on applying for an EPA grant of $225,000.

Kirby said the program is a one-year grant program only and money would be available after July 1, 2009.

The funds, if awarded, must be spent within 18 months and there is a 45 percent local grant match.

Funds received would go to the expansion project at the Willabrook plant at the corner of Brooks Road and Interstate 65.

Bullitt Fiscal Court will meet again on Tuesday, May 19, at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited to attend.