The City of Bastrop will be contending for grants against other municipalities this year, but, according to the City's lobbyist, Affairs Consultant Steve Pruitt, applying for them will be more competitive than in prior years.
Pruitt met with the City's department heads last week to discuss what grants would be available this year. He said the main purpose of his visit was to let them know what to expect and how to interpret it.
When explaining what the City should expect, Pruitt advised them of cuts in the budget in Washington.
“The advice that has come down from management in February is that they've cut out nine percent across the board for grant funding that's available,” he said.
When asked if this was unfavorable news, Pruitt said not necessarily.
“Because there's less money the City will have to be more competitive when filling out their applications,” Pruitt said.
When Mayor Betty Alford-Olive was asked if she had any ideas for achieving more enticing applications she replied the City already approaches grant applications in this manner.
"Most times, grants are competitive by nature," Alford-Olive said. "You have to show sufficient justification for whatever it is your asking for."
Alford-Olive said certain steps must be followed when filling out a grant application. She said when applications are selected, a process of elimination is carried out, based on if the steps were executed correctly.
"You must be very meticulous when filling out an application," she said. "For the bigger grants, we might get an engineer or someone of that nature to fill it out,"Alford-Olive said. "I can fill out the applications for smaller grants."
Pruitt said when applying for a grant, the applicant must often match the allotted funding with a disclosed amount of their own money.
"The ratio of money matched is likely to go up for all programs," he said. "They'll have to add more local money."
Pruitt said during the next physical year, Oct. 1 - Sept. 30, certain programs will have an increase in funding avaiable. Among those, are grants for street repairs and airports.
"While in Washington they're saying less, there's still going to be a good deal of money available," he said. "By mid April, we'll have to decide what grants to go after. We'll know what specific group to target. There's a bit of strategy involved in this."
Alford-Olive agreed that applying for grants can be trickey, but if done properly, it's very possible to be a recipient.
"We fill out for a lot of grants every year," Alford-Olive said. "Some you get and some you don't."