Weve always had the struggles in the southern part of the county, said the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association Executive Director Greg DiDonato at the Newcomerstown Rotary Club meeting Jan. 9. But were here to help.

DiDonato spoke to the Rotary Club as well as business owners and community leaders at a special presentation that highlighted the importance of OMEGA in the 10-county region.

He said in his past three years as executive director, he said Newcomerstown hasnt applied for any grants or utilized the services offered at OMEGA.

You should be applying for a grant every year, he said. Shame on you if you dont ask, you wont get it.

OMEGA offers a free grant writing service as well as accompanying paperwork to complete the grant application. However, he said, the organization or group must figure out the specifics and what grant they want before coming to OMEGA.

We work for you, he said. Use as a resource. The counties and cities (of the 10-county region) are my boss.

They have written grants for such things as education, transportation, utilities (water and sewer plants), recreation (such as playground equipment), new construction (such as fire stations and town hall buildings), to name a few.

He said OMEGA also offers a revolving loan fund for businesses. The program started in 1992 and has helped over 100 area businesses in the region. The interest rate is 4 percent but requires a bank loan before applying. However, he said, the revolving loan takes a second position in the business plan.

This is a loan from our federal and state government, DiDonato said. Its really a great program.

Since it started, only three loans have failed but has seen many success stories.

Shame on you if you dont use us, he said. We can help your town.

Its going to change, newly-elected Newcomerstown Mayor Jim Friel jumped in.

OMEGA can also offer assistance in getting background demographics or further studies to obtain the grant. They can also offer grant training.

Sometimes people are scared of the paperwork but thats what were here for, DiDonato said.

To learn more about OMEGA, call 740-439-4471 or visit www.omegadistrict.org.