Frankford still waiting on water project

There was little to say about the updates on Frankford’s ongoing water plant project at Monday night’s council meeting. “It’s about getting the engineer and contractor on the site together,” said Town Council President Robert Daisey. “It doesn’t look like that’s coming before the first of the year.”

“We’re at the mercy of someone else,” said Councilman Greg Johnson. “And until something extreme happens, we’re going to have to deal with it.”

Also at the council meeting, Al Phillips of the Sussex County Community Development and Housing Division made a brief presentation on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Phillips noted that $393,100 had been spent on 53 different jobs over the past 13 years in Frankford, with an average CDBG grant at $15,000. “We’re trying to put in $2 million for the grant,” said Phillips.

Currently, the maximum for the CDBG sits at $1.1 million, with 70 percent reserved for housing rehab and 30 percent toward infrastructure projects.

Because the federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandates only families of low and moderate income are eligible for grant assistance, the Sussex County Community Development and Housing Division established income guidelines per family size with liquid assets (cash, stocks, bonds, savings, etc.) set at a maximum of $15,000.

In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria: (1) must be a Sussex County property owner and permanent resident of Sussex, (2) must be unable to make the necessary improvements or secure the credit necessary from other sources upon terms and conditions that can be reasonably fulfilled, (3) taxes must be current, (4) home must be insured or insurable, (5) and the home owner must sign a non-interest bearing lien.

Frankford has seen five rehab projects with $75,000 worth of grants spent in the past year alone, including projects on Honolulu, Mill and Reed streets. There are currently 10 homes in Frankford on the grant list. “We need more homes,” said Phillips.

“We want to stretch our money,” he said. “[The Sussex County Community Development and Housing Division is] not there to build homes or beautify homes. We’re there to take care of the necessities that people can not do on their own.”