July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Medina County, Wadsworth housing funding team-up mulled

Medina County may partner with the city of Wadsworth to get more community housing funding through a state grant.

County Finance Director Scott Miller told county commissioners Tuesday that the county and city could qualify for $100,000 more in federal Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) grants if they apply together.

The program, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Development, awards money for owner rehabilitation of properties, emergency home repair, homebuyer assistance and emergency monthly payment assistance.

The county would receive $400,000 in funding if it qualified alone, and Wadsworth would receive $300,000. If they apply together, the county would get $450,000 and the city $350,000.

But Miller said he has concerns.

Miller said if Wadsworth did not meet its goals, it would reflect badly on the county and possibly hinder future applications.

“We would be the grantee and so we are responsible to make sure all goals are met,” he said.

Both the county and Wadsworth have received the grants in past years, though not consistently. Medina County has not qualified for the past two years. Wadsworth missed the cut in 2013, but did receive funding for this year.

Of the 82 communities that applied for 2014 funds, 56 received money.

Miller said the county has a strong economy and that worked against its eligibility for CHIP dollars.

“There are stress factors that include unemployment and foreclosures, and Medina County has historically done well in those areas,” he said.

Wadsworth Service Director Chris Easton said, “The state suggested collaborating to make it a more competitive application.”

Miller said he doesn’t know yet what the terms of the agreement would be between the county and city and doesn’t know what obligations either would have to meet.

Commissioners agreed Tuesday the prospect of more funding is worth exploring.

“I think we should proceed as if we are partnering and get all the information,” Commissioner Stephen D. Hambley said. “But if that doesn’t look like it’s going to work out, then we can still apply solo.”

The deadline for applications is June 6.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.