Housing rehabilitation discussed at Frankford meeting

Date Published: 
Dec. 15, 2017

At the Frankford Town Council’s regular monthly meeting this week, Brad Whaley of the Sussex County Community Development Office discussed the Community Development Block Grant.

“This year, there’s approximately $2 million in CDBG funding, and usually about $750,000 to $1 million in home funding available,” said Whaley. “The purpose of this funding is assist low- to moderate-income residents with housing issues. Primarily, we use it do to a lot of housing rehabilitation.”

Whaley said his office manages more than 200 housing rehabilitations per year. Eligible activities include infrastructure improvements, sidewalks, street lights and demolition.

“It must serve people with household incomes below 80 percent of area medium income — that’s set by DSHA,” he said. “Historically, we use the bulk of this funding — probably 95 percent of it — to repair homes.”

Whaley said the office has a waiting-list of people from all local towns, including Frankford.

“If the Town receives funding … we would start at the top of our list, qualify the people and manage all the way through,” he said, noting there were 12 people on Frankford’s waiting list alone.

The funding has to be protected, said Whaley, noting that a lien is placed on the property, with the duration of the lien dependent on the age of the property owner and the amount of money spent.

“If you’re over 62, it’s generally a five-year lien — it’s a pro-rated, non-interest-bearing lien, so there’s no repayment unless you sell the house in that period of time…. If you’re under 63, it’s a 10-year lien.”

The funding is typically used to do basic home repairs, such as replacing a roof or furnace.

Whaley said that, over the last 17 years, the Town of Frankford has received more than $250,000 in CDBG finding for housing repairs and assisted 26 households.

He noted that his office applies for the grant funding on the Town’s behalf. The next application deadline for funding is Feb. 24. Those interested in the program or who would like to be placed on the list for assistance may contact Whaley’s office at (302) 855-7777.

Also at this week’s council meeting, it was announced that the upcoming town council election will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. There are three seats up for election — those currently held by Skip Ash, Pam Davis and Marty Presley. But Presley announced at the meeting that he and his wife were considering moving out of town, and therefore he would not seek to be reelected to his position.

The deadline for voter and candidate registration is Jan. 10.

“If you want to help the town, that’s a good way to do it,” said Joanne Bacon.

Water budget reviewed

Presley said the Town needs to take a “very hard look” at its water system budget and decide what it wants to do going forward.

For the current fiscal year, the Town budgeted $106,000 for maintenance of the system. Thus far, the Town has spent $58,069. They recently received a bill for $11,000 and were recommended to spend an additional $22,000 by consultants White Marsh.

“If you factor in, along with the other contractual obligations we have between now and the fiscal year, we are already busted through that budget. We are $4,000 in the red.”

Presley said it means that, in a perfect world, the Town can’t spend anything else on the water plant between now and July, “which we all know isn’t going to happen.”

He said the Town will have to look at its budget, cut expenditures and put pressure on the State.

In other Town news:

• The Town has budgeted for snow removal and purchased a truck with a snow plow; however, the council needs to look into who will drive the truck, if necessary. They plan to look into whether they will hire someone to drive it and make sure they are insured to drive the vehicle.

• With the end of the year having nearly arrived, Town employees will need to use up their accrued vacation. The Town will be looking into a temp agency to cover town hall and answer phones.

• The Town’s police coverage, now being provided by the Delaware State Police, should begin next week. The Town hopes to have 12 hours of coverage per week, in three-hour shifts on four days each week.