Try asking someone in state government for money to help pay for a local project. These days, with Gov. Jim Justice and legislators struggling over the state budget, it's likely the response would be: "You're joking, right?"
Well, Tyler County commissioners are not joking. They have a serious dilemma on their hands. It is what to do about a bridge linking W.Va. 18 to the Tyler County 4-H Camp.
Clearly, the bridge needs work. At the very least, according to one estimate, it requires painting and a general checkup involving checking bolts, etc. The price tag for that would be about $250,000.
During a meeting last month, commissioners were told a state program could cover 80 percent of the cost. Commissioners have asked a representative of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Commission to look into that program. As part of the process of seeking the state money, commissioners also may seek bids on the project from contractors.
At some point, money will have to be spent on the bridge. Cutting off access to the 4-H Camp property simply is not an option.
But like many small counties, Tyler has little in the way of funding for such projects. That makes the state 80-20 program attractive.
With the Legislature still working on a state budget, no one can say whether funding for local-state cooperation projects will be available next year or, if it is, how much will be distributed. That means time may be of the essence for commissioners.
An application for the 80-20 program should be prepared as soon as possible, so it can be submitted later this spring. That way, commissioners may get in on the tail end of funding applications for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. One way or another, however, work on the 4-H Camp bridge should be undertaken.