Osceola County commissioners take steps toward veterans fund grant application

Members of the Osceola County Board of Commissioners approved submitting a letter of intent to apply for a veteran service fund grant for $25,000 during their meeting on Wednesday. Commissioners also discussed the possibility of a future millage proposal to provide additional funds for the county’s veterans services, but no decisions were made regarding this at the meeting. (Pioneer file photo)

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Osceola County officials are hoping to provide more services to local veterans in need.

During the Osceola County Board of Commissioners Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, commissioners approved submitting a letter of intent to apply for a veteran service fund grant for $25,000.

Commissioner Roger Elkins said the board felt applying for this grant could potentially help veterans in the county.

“It’s only been in the last year or so we have had someone on staff for veterans, and it’s been a very positive program so far,” Elkins said. “Being able to provide more services and have more funds would be a great thing.”

The state-funded grant the county plans to apply for is part of a $2.1 million program proposed by State Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, which was signed into law June 25.

Under this law, each county with a veteran service office meeting pre-approved requirements will receive $25,000, but counties must first apply for the grant.

Commissioners also discussed other methods of providing more funding to the veterans services office, including the possibility of the county levying a millage to provide financial assistance to indigent veterans in the county or drafting a millage proposal to be placed on an upcoming election ballot.

Part of the driving factor behind this discussion was previous concerns voiced by Dave Blanchard and Wayne Stevens, veterans services officers with the county, who have stated their desire to be able to help more local veterans who are in need of emergency assistance.

Elkins said because the deadline has passed to include a millage proposal on the November general election ballot, members of the board agreed to continue discussion regarding a millage at a later time.

“We decided we would go ahead and apply for the (veterans service fund) grant at this point, and then have more time to decide what to do about a millage,” he said.

Also during the meeting, commissioners approved:

• Claims to the county for approximately $65,334;

• The 2019 Emergency Management Performance Grant Work Agreement, and authorized the board chairman to sign;

• Offering a flu clinic through Rite Aid with payment through the county general fund; and

• A motion for the salary compensation of members of the board for the 2019-20 term to remain at the current rate.

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