Grant agreement approved for home repairs


HUNTINGBURG — Repairs on 14 homes utilizing a state grant will start at the end of the year or the beginning of next year.

Additional verifications and inspections must be done before the work can start, Jenny Dearwester of the Southern Indiana Development Commission told the Huntingburg Common Council Tuesday.

“We have to reverify everything,” she said. “That means going back to see if there are any changes in the household, such as size or income.”

Environmental reviews and inspections also need to be done, she said.

Huntingburg was one of nine applicants awarded funds through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program. The council approved the grant agreement with the state Tuesday evening, and appropriating a $39,000 match that will be added to the $350,000 grant and used for repairs.

The Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program is funding used to financially assist homeowners in making needed repairs to their homes. The Southern Indiana Development Commission is the administrator of Huntingburg’s program, which has targeted low-income households.

Repairs that qualify are those that are done for health and safety reasons, such as electrical, roofing, siding and heating/ventilation/air conditioning work; outdoor ramps and federal Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible bathrooms have also been installed through the program.

Huntingburg received 24 applications that qualified for the program. The applicants will receive forms in the mail this summer to update and reaffirm their information. Each applicant will then be rated by their median income to determine the 14 applicants with the lowest income percentages. Those 14 homes will be the ones done first, Dearwester said.

The maximum amount that can be spent on repairing a home is $25,000. The average amount that tends to be spent on a home has been between $18,000 and $23,000, depending on the extent of the repairs. If a home does not need that much funding for repairs, it’s possible that other qualifying homes could be worked on, Dearwester said.

A resident who attended Tuesday’s meeting asked why it will take so long to start the work. Dearwester explained that four other communities the commission is working with also received a grant from the state agency. Huntingburg will be the second community the commission works with to complete the work, she said. Also it will take time to complete and send the state the required inspections and information updates, as well as to find area contractors willing to bid on the projects, she said.

“It would be nice to have five, six, seven contractors working on the projects, just so that we get good, competitive bids,” Dearwester said, “and that the work can hopefully get spread around a little bit, and done a little quicker.”

The commission will compile a list of area contractors that can do the work and bid out the project. The city will open and approve the bids, Dearwester said. All work must be completed by Aug. 28, 2020, according to the grant stipulations.

The council also:

• Hired Mike Ciraulo as a firefighter. Ciraulo, who was a firefighter in Oregon, might need to get some recertifications for Indiana; that is being researched now, Fire Chief Scott Patberg said. Ciraulo will be sworn in at the Huntingburg Board of Public Works’ May 2 meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.

• Approved the agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation to receive $133,425.59 in Community Crossings grant funding for work that will be done on Third Street from Chestnut to Walnut streets.

• Amended its ordinance for streets and sidewalks to establish rules for doing curb work. The ordinance states that work on curbs can only be done by city crews or a city-sanctioned contractor, to make sure curbs are done to city standards. Also the cost for such work will be $25 per foot of curb.

• Purchased a Ford truck for the gas department from Sternberg for $43,827.

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