It was a busy and challenging 2018 for the city of Ballinger as the city put forth a determined effort to improve the infrastructure of the city. The city fire department not only bought a ladder truck this year, they recently received a $500,000 grant to purchase 2 vehicles with. Now the city has received a $275,000 grant for street improvements from the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program. The program is, ”Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that TDA has dedicated to economic and community development in rural areas.”
Ballinger City Manager, Tommy Turney, commented on the grants, “These grants are huge for us. The citizens of Ballinger deserve to have great emergency services capabilities and good streets. You can drive around town and many of the roads need some type of improvement.” Sam Mallory was mayor when the city applied for the grant. Recently elected Mayor Dawni Seymore has said that she considers infrastructure a top priority.
Councilman Bob McDaniel (council place 3) has also been outspoken in pushing to get infrastructures issues addressed. He was pleased with the news of the grant, “Our city streets have suffered neglect for way too long but under Mr. Turney's capable leadership we will now have significant grant money funds that will allow our fine city employees to make noticeable improvements to the streets of our town. Pride in Ballinger continues to grow. Thank you Tommy and to all involved! Bob McDaniel, Ballinger City Council, Place 3
This brings the total to $575,000 in grant money that the city has received in the last few months. Other grants have been applied for and the city and police department are still waiting on word about whether or no they will receive them.
One of Turney’s first orders of business after becoming city manager was to ask for bids from grant administration businesses. Once they had received bids, the council selected the current grant administration company. The company identifies and applies for grants for the city.
When Turney took office, the city was in financial straits. The city’s $360,000 in CD reserves had been used for projects, mainly paving, along with other work that needed to be done. They city received $225,000 in grant repayment but that too went to projects rather than being used to rebuild the city’s reserves. This came to a head when the city’s Moody’s credit rating dropped.
These grants that the city is apply for and receiving will help significantly with the city financial issues. It will allow them to pay for the work with grant money rather than city money. Freeing up money that can be used to rebuild the city’s reserves is an important step to bringing the city’s credit rating back up. The grant money means that the needed street work still gets done, just without the city having to foot the bill for the various project.