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Officials looking to federal level for help with Brilliant water project

Officials are looking for ways to replace the lost grant money without impacting the Brilliant Water customers.

Last week at the Jefferson County Commissioners meeting, it was learned that a grant worth $500,000 earmarked for the $3.4 million Brilliant water improvement project was being pulled.

On Thursday, commissioners were officially informed in writing that the grant money had been rescinded. Former Jefferson County Regional Planning Director Martin Sohovich resigned last week after paperwork for the project was not properly done and guidelines were not followed.

“It’s a mistake, a big mistake,” Commissioner Tom Graham said. “It’s not a little mistake -- $500,000 is 14 percent of their budget regarding that project. It should never have been given the OK to proceed without the release of funds, and now they’re paying the price for that. Hopefully we’ll be able to bail them out in this process at the federal level.”

All involved in the project -- Brilliant Water, the commissioners and the Ohio Mid-Eastern Government Association or OMEGA -- are looking for ways to replace the lost grant money without impacting the Brilliant Water customers.

"Ultimately, it’s a long shot but we feel confident, I especially have confidence in our federal legislators, our two U. S. Senators, our congressmen, in helping convincing HUD for the funding on this project,” said Domenick Mucci, OMEGA president. “If not, Brilliant is still going to proceed with the project. However, they’re going to have to come up with an alternative on the $500,000.”

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