Council Passes Community Block Grant

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cityhall211By Terry Rogers

On Monday, January 28, 2013, Albert Biddle of Kent County Levy Court and Mike Jones, Project Manager for Sussex County, presented information on the application for funds under the Community Development Block Grant Program to Milford City Council members. This public hearing, in accordance with Section 106 Review Process established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, encouraged comments from interested agencies and individuals, especially related to historic properties of significance.

The program, which is federally funded, provides grants averaging between $2,000 and $15,000 to support Community Development Activities for low to mid-income homeowners whose homes need repairs to bring the home up to standards. Projects include groundwork, foundation repairs, siding replacement, kitchen and bathroom replacements and roofs. Throughout Kent and Sussex Counties, but excluding the city of Dover, the program provides over $2 million in funding toward repairs to low and moderate income families, minor street repairs, demolition and shelter-related projects.

“Last year, the program spent $680,000 on the south side of Milford, and funded 48 rehabs,” Jones explained. “Right now we have a waiting list, and are working extensively on the Sussex side of the town.”

There are income limits to qualify for the grants, according to Biddle. For a family of four, the low income limit is $47,600, while very low income applicants must make less than $29,750 for a family of four.

Councilman Skip Pikus asked what type of work the program typically funded, as during the presentation, Jones stated that there was a maximum limit of $15,000 per project.

“Whatever is needed,” Jones replied. “We do not do remodeling, but we fix things that are broken such as heating, plumbing, replacing doors and windows. We fix a lot of roofs.” Jones could not provide information on the exact projects funded in Milford as all applications and approvals are confidential. However, he stated that Milford is one of the few communities who obtains approvals each year for these types of grants.

After the public hearing, councilmembers voted on five resolutions related to the Community Development Block Grant:

– Resolution 2013-2 resolving to endorse and grant permission for David B. Baker, Sussex County Administrator to submit an application to the Delaware State Housing Authority for funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development;
– Resolution 2013-3 assured the Delaware State Housing Authority that Sussex County has met the application requirements and that a public hearing was held;
– Resolution 2013-4 resolving that the City of Milford will take actions necessary should anyone involved in renting, selling or financing housing in the city discriminate on the grounds of race, color, national origin or sex
– Resolution 2013-5 authorizes Kent County Levy Court to submit the Fiscal Year 2013 Community Block Grant application.
– Resolution 2013-6 resolves that the city will take action against anyone who discriminates on the grounds of race, color national origin or sex.

All five resolutions passed unanimously. Anyone interested in applying for a grant should contact the Community Block Development Grant offices in Kent and Sussex County. There is a waiting list for approvals.