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Grant will give homes to needy
by Kenda Nelson
Mar 17, 2011 | 1203 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Refugio City Council gave the go-ahead to Donna Johnson of Grantworks at its regular meeting on March 8 to apply for a grant to rehabilitate or reconstruct several substandard homes. The council also will consider a request from the Boys and Girls Club to construct a new building on Heritage Park.

Bayside, Woodsboro and the county have all applied and received the housing grants. The county turned over the keys last week to five new homes in the county.

“Most of the houses selected are in such bad shape, they’re not worth investing money to rehabilitate them,” Johnson said.

Johnson said all the homes are built with the same set of plans in order to save money and get the biggest bang for the buck. A former Refugio resident, Johnson told the council the project is “dear to her heart.”

Residents will be able to apply after the grant is approved. Johnson said applicants must qualify to be selected. They must live in the home, be good citizens, pay their taxes and be in a low-income bracket.

“A family of four can’t make more than $27,900 a year,” Johnson said. “These are people who are doing all the right things but just can’t afford to repair their homes.”

The city must pay approximately $2,000 per home in matching funds.

Councilman Garrett Engelking asked Johnson how great were the chances of obtaining the grant.

“I’m not in the business of writing grants I can’t get funded,” Johnson said.

The grantwriter said the city would not have to provide funding until the next fiscal year which begins Oct. 1, which allows the city to explore funding the town’s part through economic development funds.

In other matters, Nan Linney, board member of Boys and Girls Club, told the council that the board considering an offer from the Adult Day Care Center to purchase the building. The adult center rents half the building from the Boys and Girls Club, which was donated by H-E-B to the club when the new store was built on U.S.77.

Linney said children walked from the Refugio Middle School until the school was closed and now the children must ride the bus. By moving the club to Heritage Park, near the water tower or the Scout Hut, the children could once again walk from the elementary school. Linney said they hope the club will be better utilized with the move.

Although no formal plans have been made, Linney said she was at the meeting to “run the idea past the council.”

In hotel/motel tax money matters, the council met for a workshop before the regular meeting. With money in the fund dwindling, the council will pro-rate the amount requested by groups who have historically requested the funds so that the council can share the funds equitably.

The council also will request receipts in the future from each group requesting the funds.

The council tabled requests of $4,360 for the Refugio Country Opry and $10,000 from the Fourth of July festival committee pending Engelking’s figures on how the money has been spent in the past.

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