Bremen misses out on aid package

By virtually all forms of measurement, times are tough locally, but not tough enough for the Town of Bremen to secure some valuable funding.
A commissioned study conducted by Ball State University to hopefully get Bremen a low to medium income grant — from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the United States Department of Agriculture — found that it did not qualify.
The financial impact is significant.
"Actually, it's huge," Town of Bremen Director of Operations Rich Martin said. "All of our water facilities that need upgraded and were hoping to land some grant money to do those projects will now have to be funded totally through utilities."
The Town of Bremen also wanted to use the funds for redevelopment projects downtown, signage and numerous other potential improvements.
"(Losing this grant) really puts a heavy burden on us because now we have to fund all that stuff in-house," Martin said. "All that does is add tax burden to our residents, so a lot of projects will just have to be put on hold and we'll just maintain and upgrade as situations arise."
The summer-long study used residents' surveys to come up with a yearly household income average. For the second time in a row, Bremen came in just above the less-than $40,000 mark needed to get the desired assistance.
"The last time it was around $180 (a year too much), and I think we're right around that same number," Martin said. "I didn't get the exact overage, but it was less than $200."
Martin said he and his fellow Town Council members work tirelessly to attain state and national grants.
"There's a lot of opportunities for funding, especially now with the economy being in dire straits," he said. "Basically it's a never-ending process. You start one grant procedure with endless paperwork, phone calls and homework getting numbers. Once you get one done, another one comes around and you start all over again."