LYONS — Wayne County Administrator Rick House said there could be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in grant dollars out there that the county could be chasing to help fund the government he oversees.
“We’re trying to get more revenue and continue the services” residents want and need, said House.
But securing those grants in a highly competitive market takes expertise and time. So House looked outside county government to find that expertise, and he didn’t have to go far.
Jay Roscup, a grants administrator in the Sodus Central School District, and before that, Lyons, is being tapped to help the county find more grant money.
At the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, House outlined the county’s 2019 state-mandated shared-services plan, which calls for the county entering into a $25,000 contract with the Sodus school district to provide grant-writing assistance.
Roscup is not charged with writing the grant applications, House emphasized, but with helping to identify grant opportunities and to train and find grant writers, who could be department managers or other employees.
“We’re not trying to take duties away from the department heads,” House said. “We’re trying to help them find more grants. The county needs someone truly dedicated to grants management.”
House said Roscup has a long track record of securing dollars, noting he helped Sodus and a consortium of other county schools secure $2.5 million to increase mental health services.
“To have someone who is a specialist, who knows the lay of the land is immense,” said House. “Jay comes in with a fantastic resume, a lot of experience. He knows his business.”
Hiring a full-time grants coordinator would cost $90,000 or more between salary and benefits, said House.
He noted that the county is making a concerted effort to keep its workforce from growing in an effort to hold the line on property taxes. County policy states that any position added must be underwritten by a non-county revenue source.
Roscup is excited about the opportunity.
“I hope to help Wayne County continue to develop pathways for collaboration that garner more resources and optimize the use of the resources we already have,” he said by email Wednesday afternoon. “We all interface with complicated systems, but our purposes are often common and simple. Bridging islands of expertise across systems creates pathways forward. Cooperation around grant projects can lead to sustained good work within a community that cultivates a culture of shared work and shared success.”
The service-sharing plan will next go to the supervisors’ Finance Committee for consideration and then on to the full board at its next meeting, Nov. 19. The plan then goes off to the state for review, and House said state officials have given the project a preliminary go-ahead.
If all goes as planned, the sharing agreement with Sodus will go into effect Jan. 1, said House.