Joe P. Asher
The city of Benham has been awarded $50,000 per year for the next two fiscal years in special project coal severance funds. The money was discussed in a meeting of the Benham City Council on Thursday.
Mayor John Dodd advised the council on the specific circumstances surrounding the money.
“We got $50,000 this year in municipal aid,” said Dodd. “It’s LGEAD (Local Government Economic Assistance Development), not LGEA (Local Government Economic Assistance) like your regular coal severance money. This is other money that’s been appropriated through the House.”
According to Dodd, Benham has netted twice the amount of funds other Harlan County cities will receive.
“We were the only city in Harlan County to get $50,000. The other cities got $25,000,” said Dodd.
Dodd informed the council the type projects the money could be spent on.
“Public safety, which will be law enforcement and fire protection. Environmental protection, sewage disposal, solid waste, or any related sanitation program. Streets and roads, we need to buy some stop signs and some yield signs, slow children playing, different things like that. Recreation, the only thing we’ve got is the parks and the tennis courts. Educational facilities, which we don’t have any educational facilities here in Benham. Industrial and economic development, vocational education, if we’ve got somebody we need to send somewhere to train for a few days we can take this money and do that,” said Dodd.
Dodd pointed out that this money is regulated closely and detailed records must be maintained.
“On each one of these you have to do a detailed scope of work, you have to do a budget detailing the use of funds, whatever you’re doing with it. It has to be very explicit, just like writing a grant,” said Dodd.
In other action council:
* Signed a letter in support of applying for a grant for the rehabilitation of the Benham Clinic;
* Heard Council member George Massey inquire about the renaming of the Coal Miner’s Theater. The council unanimously passed a motion to rename the theater the Mayor Betty Howard Coal Miner’s Memorial Theater during the council meeting about two months ago. Council member Shirley Dodd noted the theater is on the national registry, which may not allow the name change. Mayor John Dodd said he would look into the issue and report back to the council.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com