LEIPSIC — During their meeting on Monday, members of the Leipsic Village Council debated long and hard about costs associated with the submission of a federal Neighborhood Revitalization Grant.

According to Village Administrator Justin Barnhart, the village solicited requests for participation in the grant from village businesses, eight of which replied. The field was then narrowed to three — Uptown Market, Smokin B’s, and Dulle Chiropractic — all of which were deemed most closely in line with the requirements established within the grant.

Representing Poggemeyer Design Group, the firm frequently tasked with filing grants on behalf of the village, Ken Maag broached the subject and fielded questions regarding the $250,000 NRG application and the $10,000 fee PDG charges for writing and submitting the application.

“If we would receive that grant, that $10,000, would that come off the top, or does that come back to the village?” Councilor Dave Heitmeyer asked, to which Mr. Maag replied, “No. That’s over and above. That’s just to do the application. That’s over, above, and outside the $250,000 grant.”

That response opened a period of discussion, questioning, and debate centering around fiscal responsibility and the possibility of the village’s administrator, Justin Barnhart, assuming responsibility for writing and submitting the grant proposal, with oversight from PDG.

“I think you guys do a great job,” Mr. Heitmeyer said to Mr. Maag. “It’s just, if it fails, and we don’t get it, we’re out $10,000. I think it’s a big undertaking for the village. If it was a guarantee, but it’s not a guarantee. If we throw $10,000 out and it doesn’t work, then we’ve thrown $10,000 out.”

“Justin, are you able to write this application?” Councilor Tony Wobler asked Mr. Barnhart directly.

Though hesitant, Mr. Barnhart ultimately acknowledged the possibility.

“It’s not something I want to get into, but I’d do whatever’s best for the community,” he said.

Also brought into play was the suggestion the three businesses which stand to benefit assume some of the risk, to, as Mr. Heitmeyer put it, “… have some skin in the game.”

“I’m not opposed if the three that are interested went a quarter, a quarter, a quarter, and we throw in a quarter,” Mr. Heitmeyer said.

“This would be the first time, in my memory, that we’ve ever charged someone to apply for this,” Mayor Kevin Benton said. “Is that really a good idea? You said you want them to have skin in the game. Just by having a business in town, isn’t that having skin in the game?”

The discussion continued with all council members acknowledging the significance of a $10,000 investment with no guarantee of return. However, while still reflecting the general mindset, Councilor Sue Schroeder also recognized the benefit of a professional presentation, one which could improve the odds of a positive outcome.

“This takes a particular skill set,” she advised.

Council voted to table the matter, pending further specific input from Mr. Maag and PDG. Then, as the meeting was drawing to a close, discussion resumed.

Ultimately, council universally opted to support PDG’s role in writing and submitting the grant, and approved the $10,000 fee to do so.

In other business, council:

• approve road closures for the village’s Main Street USA festival, scheduled for Sept. 21 through 23.

• scheduled a meeting of council to take place at the Leipsic Library on Sept. 16.

• approved the schedule for Halloween celebrations, with the annual parade to take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and trick-or-treat to take place on Thursday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 7 p.m.

• approved moving council’s first meeting in September from Monday, Sept. 2 — Labor Day — to Tuesday, Sept. 3.

• heard and approved the third and final reading of an ordinacne authorizing the creation of the Leipsic Walks Grant program, and the Leipsic Walks Board.

The next regular meeting of the Leipsic Village Council is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the village offices.