The Italy Economic Development Corporation voted to hire Darryl Ratcliff of Green Bandana Group of Dallas as grant writer at its monthly meeting Monday.

Ratcliff presented the group with an eight-point proposal for the six-month proposed contract. He said his group would be responsible for the following:

Through interviews and other means, gather information that will easily allow him to grasp the concept of the project for which funding is sought.

Acquire and maintain sound knowledge and understanding of the organization and use that knowledge and understanding to better comprehend all projects and programs for which grants will be sought and to recommend the seeking of grants.

Research grant-making organizations and analyze them to identify likely funding sources for specific projects and programs.

Compile, write and edit all grant applications exhibiting strong expository writing skills and a high-level command of grammar and spelling.

Review the budget of a project for which funding is sought and to make recommendations to better present it to grant-making organizations.

Develop individual grant proposals in accordance with each grant-making organization’s preferences and follow exactly each grant-making organization’s guidelines.

Keep in contact with grant-making organization during their review of a submitted grant application in order to be able to supply additional supportive material.

Manage the process of supplying progress reports when required by a grant-making organization that has funded a project or program.

The cost is $700 per month for 30 hours of professional services. Performance bonds would be $2,000 for every $25,000 raised, up to $100,000; and an additional $5,000 for every $50,000 raised after $100,000.

Before voting, Elmerine Bell, IEDC member, said, “If we qualify for it, then we should ask for it.”

She related an economic development conference she attended a couple of years ago that started as a small project in Tupelo, Miss., and turned into a project that encompassed the entire community. She came back excited from the conference at the options that might be available to the city.

Mark Stiles, president, told Ratcliff the IEDC presently has one project, the demolition and construction of a community center. He asked if Ratcliff and his group could also assist with grants for possible new businesses, current businesses, the school district and city.

Bell said the main thing now is to get the community center project under way but urged Ratcliff to keep his eyes open for grants that would benefit any part of the city.

Ratcliff said he is available and ready to do such work.

The IEDC members voted unanimously to hire the Green Bandana Group as its grant writers.

Stiles appointed Bell as chair of a committee to work with Ratcliff along with Tom Little and himself.

In other business, the IEDC passed a resolution urging all elected federal officials who represent the residents of Italy to oppose any proposal to close the Italy Post Office.

Stiles said about 2,500 post offices throughout the U.S. are expected to close by the end of March.

He said the IEDC is choosing to be pre-emptive. He said the current post office does not make a lot of money but it does not lose a lot of money.

Copies of the resolution will be sent to U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn and U.S. Congressman Joe Barton. Notices of this resolution will also be sent to the Ellis County Commissioners Court and the city of Italy requesting they pass similar resolutions.

During financial reports, Terri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, reported sales tax earnings of $6,637.95 for January.

Year-to-date (October 2010 through February 2011) sales tax earnings are $29,744.94. The operating budget balance is $1,087.13 and money market balance is $116,917.79.

The next IEDC meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 28.