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Collinsville and 10 other communities receive over $140,000 for Environmental Projects

By Devese “Dee” Ursery

dursery@timestribunenews.com

The city of Collinsville is one of 11 communities to receive over $140,000 grant funds from Madison County.

The Madison County Grants Committee approved the funding for the Environmental Projects initiative on Feb. 6 and the County Board voted for its approval the following day. 

The Building and Zoning Department has allocated 11 taxing districts grants in the amount of $143,020 to support environmental projects throughout the county. Chris Doucleff, building and zoning administrator, explained the program was established over 20 years ago and typically awards 10 grants  for environmental-based projects.

“It’s part of our solid waste management plan with the state, so every year we typically give out about 10 grants ranging from water quality to riprap (rocks) for stormwater to entire energy efficiency projects,” Doucleff said. “You also need lighting in a building and stuff like that or even heating and charging conditions as well.”

According to Doucleff the purpose of the program is to provide financial support for projects that align with the county’s environmental goals and initiatives. Since the program’s inception 23 years ago, the County has been allocating funds from the landfill “host” or “tipping” fee fund to pay for more than 170 projects.

This year, projects include stormwater improvements, lighting upgrades, greenhouse projects, solar projects and more.

Doucleff said Collinsville was awarded a grant of $15,000 this year for the natural gas generator at City Hall. He continued by saying that in general the grants are reimbursement funding for local units of government and their environmental projects.

City Manager Derek Jackson took time to weigh in and explain the City’s project and its cost. He said the $15,000 Madison County Environmental Grant will be applied to the cost of the installation of a natural gas-powered emergency generator at City Hall. 

“The Natural gas-powered generator was specified for the project because they require less maintenance and produce less carbon emissions than diesel powered generators which is consistent with the city’s sustainability plan. The project has been awarded to JF Electric for $212,450,” Jackson said.

Total budgeted cost of the project, including engineering and contingencies, is $350,000. The city fully expects to be under budget on the project. Project completion is expected to be mid-summer due to the long lead time on the generator.”

According to an official report from Dennis Kress public works director the scope of work also includes the consolidation of two metered electrical services into one metered service at City Hall. He stated that City Hall currently has no backup generator and is vulnerable to service disruptions during severe weather and other catastrophic events. 

“Installation of the emergency back-up generator will ensure continuous operations of city services,” Kress said. “Especially the City’s information technologies service, which is critical to public safety operations during prolonged service interruptions.”

To control project cost, the Request for Proposals required bidders to provide a base price for  all labor, equipment, and materials for the installation of a 150kW natural gas-powered generator, per documents. An alternate bid for  a 150kW diesel-powered generator was also required. Natural gas-powered generators require less maintenance and produce less carbon emissions but are typically more expensive than diesel powered generators.

Ineligible projects include recreation equipment, transportation, mileage, labor, education, disposal fees, tractors and/or wheeled vehicles, generators powered by gas, diesel, or propane unless upgrading to more efficient models, per official County documents.

According to Doucleff each year municipalities are chosen through a scoring system that he and Madison County Resource Coordinator Brandon Banks designed. 

“We use a rubric that is typically on a 16-point scale system. It takes all kinds of factors into consideration, like if they’ve done funding in the last five years or have gotten funding the year previous,” Banks said.

“Also the viability of the project is taken into consideration and there’s about six or seven various factors that we go over to find the best appropriate projects for funding.”

Doucleff explained that municipalities, townships and parks districts would come up with a project and  submit it to Madison County Building and Zoning Department via their online portal or a hard copy of their Environmental grant paperwork. 

“They would submit a request for up to $15,000 for that specific project. Now the project itself can be $20,000, $100,000, or $5 million,” Doucleff said. 

“There’s really no limit on how big a project is, but through our Environmental grant funding we can fund up to $15,000 with a 20% match from that municipality. Some of the grants are below that threshold too, so they don’t have to do the whole $15,000. 

According to chair of the Grants Committee anad County Board member Denise Wiehardt these grants benefit 11 taxing districts. They also provide funding for upgrades or the replacement of older, non-environmentally friendly infrastructure. 

Below is a list of other grant recipients along with their projects to include Glen Carbon receiving a $15,000 grant for their Energy Master Plan Assessment. Troy, St. Jacob Township and the Tri-Township Park District  each received $15,000 for their specific projects which are Streambank restoration and Harbor Mill Driver; engineering/design of stormwater culvert and a Community Garden Phase III Greenhouse. Jarvis Township was also awarded a $15,000 grant for their Township office solar project.

Alton was granted $4,140 for Greenhouse gas inventory. Godfrey and Highland both received $15,000 for Storeyland stormwater improvements and for the City reservoir sediment basin improvements. HoliShores Sanitary District was awarded $3,880 for lighting upgrade and Nameoki Township was granted $15,000 for cold planner, recycle millings for roadways.

All grant recipients are expected to undergo site visits upon project completion as well as submit a final report upon their funding reimbursement request.

“Special thanks to Brandon Banks, Chris Douecleff, and the Madison County Grants Committee for their continued support to municipalities on environmental projects,” Jackson said. “These grants are a win-win by helping municipalities become more energy efficient, which translates into operational savings in the long run.”

 

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