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Grant may help Guyton go green
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Guyton is hoping a grant through the federal stimulus pipeline will help it become a little greener.

City council members approved Tuesday morning seeking an energy efficiency and conservation block grant. The grant will be administered by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority. The program is for cities with a population of less than 35,000 and counties with a population of less than 200,000.

The grant would allow the city to retrofit some of its older buildings to be retrofitted to be more energy efficient, city attorney Ramona Bartos said. It also will allow for sources of renewable energy, such as solar panels, to be installed.

In order to be considered for the grants — the state has $13.3 million available for communities through the stimulus program — the city has to have its paperwork into GEFA by Nov. 17.

“The deadline is coming up fast,” Bartos said.

Also, it’s an extensive process to apply for the grants. Guyton officials were scheduled to take part in a GEFA-hosted Webinar on the block grants on Wednesday.

“It’s a lengthy handbook,” Bartos said.

The city already has identified possible buildings and projects that could benefit from the program. Alderman Jeff Lariscy suggested solar panels on the caboose in the middle of town could be used to power its lights at night. He also said renewable energy sources could be used along the Rails to Trails project.

The grant also may be used to make the Guyton Civic Center and the old school adjacent to it more energy efficient.

“I say we go for the biggest bang for our buck,” Alderman Ulysses Eaton said.

Mayor Michael Garvin noted that the city took out the lights at the ballfield because of the cost of operating them.

“That’s something we can put back in,” he said.

There is no matching requirement for the grant, but there were still questions on whether the city would be eligible to receive any money — the city faces losing its qualified local government status and putting its ability to receive loans and grants in jeopardy without an approved service delivery strategy. Bartos said because the grant was a federal program, she didn’t know if there would be a detrimental effect because of the lack of a service delivery agreement between the three cities and the county.