By JOHN T. WARD
Six months after hiring a professional contractor to seek out grant funds, the Red Bank council is hopeful that a cash pump has been primed.
Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told the council last week that while no grants have yet been secured under the contract with Millennium Strategies, there is now “several million dollars” worth of potential funding “in the pipeline.”
With Millennium’s six-month contract ending this week, Shehady encouraged the council to continue the pursuit by putting the work up for bid, as it did when it selected the Morristown-based firm from three contenders in March.
“I think we would benefit by having them continue to do work for the borough,” he said.
So far, no grants applied for under the contract have been obtained, but officials said they’re still awaiting responses on most of the three dozen that have been applied for.
A report on Millennium’s efforts lists applications pending with both government and private sector funders. They include $1.2 million sought from the New Jersey Department of Transportation for streetscape and pedestrian improvements along Shrewsbury Avenue; $821,00, also from the DOT, for improvements to Broad Street from Front Street to Reckless Place; $424,000 sought from the Federal Emergency Management Administration for fire department portable radios: $282,000 for a bikeways project; $1,000 for recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities; and $100,000 for pet spaying and neutering.
Here’s the report: Red Bank grants 110118
“Unfortunately, in the six months they’ve been here, they’ve been able to apply for a lot, [but] they haven’t been able to be around for the awards,” Shehady said. The borough still hadn’t heard back about two grants that had supposed to have been awarded over the summer.
“I think maybe in six months we’ll start seeing some residual effect,” Councilman Mike Whelan, noting that the council was unanimous in support of the contract in March.
“They’ve applied for stuff we wouldn’t even be in the running for,” said Councilman Mark Taylor.
Until Millennium was brought on board, Mayor Pasquale said in February, the pursuit of grants had often been handled by the borough engineering contractor, who “focused mostly on grants for engineering projects,” according the minutes of the February 28 meeting.
Millennium’s fee for six months was $3,000, according to the contract awarded in March.
Shehady told the council that Millennium identifies potential grants for the borough, and “if there’s an inkling it might apply to us, they send it my way,” he said. Shehady said he then determines which departments would be best suited to work with the firm to develop applications.