The commission authorized ARPA funding for the project at its Sept.15 meeting. Commissioner Richard Lohnest said that when he and commissioners Melanie Flax Wilt and Lowell McGlothin authorized the ARPA funding for the project, they did so under the understanding that it would benefit development in the area.
“In our minds, we thought we were assisting in a proposed housing development,” he said.
Clark County Engineer John Burr told commissioners that the project has been in talks for years following major flooding in the area that occurred in 2014, with the project’s planning beginning in 2018.
Without the ARPA funding, Burr said, his office would have a major financial gap to fill in a short timeframe, with no definitive sources of funding from now until the project is scheduled to go out for bid next year. His office has also already invested $400,000 into the project.
“This money isn’t going to fall from the sky,” he said.
Enon Mayor Timothy Howard also attended the Wednesday meeting to voice concern. He said he thinks the stormwater project is needed to address present issues. He said that the village has been working with the county’s engineer office on this project far before a housing subdivision was proposed.
“This is the perfect use of ARPA funds… this is exactly what those monies are for,” he said. “This is a project that will affect the entire area.”
Enon Village Council president Rick Hanna said the resolution to rescind appeared to be a “knee-jerk reaction” to the rezoning referendum and asked the commission to postpone any decision to rescind the funding.
“I’m not ready to say that a housing project or any development down there is dead by any means whatsoever,” Hanna said. “I think without a doubt we’ll have some kind of housing in the future.”