Frankford residents urged to apply for housing improvements


The Frankford Town Council heard from Sussex County’s Mike Jones this week, when Jones came to speak about eligibility criteria for the Sussex County Community Development and Housing (HPG-CDBG) program. Jones encouraged Frankford residents to apply to the program so that the town will be more likely to see the benefits it can provide.

Jones explained that Sussex and Kent counties have gotten approximately $2 million in funding in the current fiscal years, as they have in past years, to assist low-income people with such things as housing renovations, demolitions and sewer/water hookups.

According to the county’s Web site, the Community Development and Housing Department applies for funding on behalf of local municipalities who request assistance from the County. The department’s funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Delaware State Housing Authority and the Sussex County Council.

This year’s funding went toward rehabilitating, demolition and water/sewer hookups in the towns of Blades, Coverdale Crossroads, Ellendale, Laurel, Milford and Pine Town, as well as rural Selbyville and West Rehoboth.

Applicants are considered low-income under CDBG guidelines if they consist of one person with an income of $33,500 or as very-low-income if one person has an income of $20,850. With each additional member of the household, the income threshold increases by $4,750. For example, a family of four can make $47,600 and still be CDBG eligible. Applicants cannot have liquid assets (cash, stocks, bonds, savings) worth more than $15,000, and the home has to be owner-occupied.

Jones suggested that Frankford needs to have more residents on the waiting list, because it hasn’t been revised in a few years, and sometimes people die or move away before the County reaches their names as they work their way down the list. He explained that there are 14 Frankford residents on the list now, but if there were 20, he said, it would be better for the town.

“It’s kind of a competition between you and other towns. If the list is longer, it looks as if there is a greater need, and you can get more money for the town. Whoever is in greater need gets more money.”

He explained that, in 16 years of the program, Frankford has received $90,000 in assistance for its residents.

While the funding does come in the form of a grant, those younger than 62 have a 10-year lien placed on the home, and for each year they stay in the home, $1,000 of the lien is forgiven. If a family gets repairs made through a grant and then stays in the home for 10 years, the debt is forgiven. For those older than 62, the lien is five years.

“The object is not to help you fix it up so you can sell it. It is to help people stay in their home” he Jones emphasized.

He noted that many double-wide homes have had roof issues since the blizzards the area experienced a few years ago, and that is one of the many issues they can address, along with windows and doors and sometimes infrastructure and demolition.

For more information on the program, people can go online to http://sussexcountyde.gov/dept/communitydev or call (302) 855-7777.

In other Frankford news, Police Chief William Dudley asked the council to consider allowing him to place “no stopping, standing or parking” signs along Green Street, at least while the construction is happening on the Frankford Public Library addition. As it is, people cannot park in the former library parking lot because that area is included in the footprint of the addition. The new entrance to the library will actually be on Green Street, but the council agreed to allow him to place the signs there in the interim. People using the library are asked to park across the street, at the fire hall or at the JP Court, during construction.

The council also agreed to allow him to spend $5,020 for in-car video cameras for the FPD police cars. Only $20 of that will come from town coffers, though, as Dudley said he received a Highway Safety grant for $5,000 for the purchase. He also asked for permission to look into using part of a 2012 and 2013 County sharing revenue grant for the purchase of a new police vehicle.

Town Clerk Terry Truitt updated the council on the possibility the Town providing water service for Trinity Holiness Church and some residential dwellings on the same street that have had issues with water quality in their wells. They are outside town limits, but the council has talked about possible annexation in recent meetings and has agreed to contact agencies for possible grant money to help extend the service.

“I would encourage you to also make calls to the newly elected senator, [Gerald] Hocker,” Truitt told the residents and members of the church who attended the Jan. 7 council meeting. “Hopefully, we will hear something back.”

The winners in Frankford’s holiday house decorating contest winners are now posted online at www.frankfordde.us. First place went to Cheryl and Dennis Workman, and second place went to Jesse and Terry Truitt. Third place went to Robin Davis. In addition to the top winners, there were 10 honorable mentions and two places awarded for Best Door. First place in the door decorating contest went to Frank and Cheri Porcelli, and second place went to Dayne and Rocco Alberti.

Finally, there will be no 2013 election in Frankford, as only the incumbents registered to run for the council seats up for re-election.