The Linn County Commission will consider whether to submit a moderate housing grant after failing to receive the grant in the first round. (Wix stock photo)
By Charlene Sims, Journal staff
MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commission postponed making a decision to apply for the third round of a Moderate Income Housing (MIH) grant during its meeting on Monday, June 5. That decision came after Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower asked for approval to contract with the Southeast Kansas Regional Planning Commission (SEKRPC) to write the grant.
Hightower reminded the commissioners that the county had applied for the first round on this grant and did not get chosen. This time Hightower said that she would like to have the grant written by the SEKRPC, because it is a highly competitive grant and is more involved than other grants. She told the commissioners that SEKRPC has applied for other communities and been successful multiple times.
In the first round, Hightower said that there were several things that were missing from the grant application package including a pro forma for the developer. She also said that it would also help that this time Linn County would have a completed housing assessment. She said that Darcy Wilson, the county’s Rural Housing Champion, nearly had the survey completed.
The grant, which has been through two rounds of awards, is going to be offered a third time. The $650,000 grant would help with building moderate income housing –$160,000 to $230,000 homes – according to the federal government guidelines.The grant could help make new homes affordable by providing assistance that could include reimbursing material costs for the builder and providing down payment assistance for the buyer.
The goal of this grant is increasing the amount of moderate income housing in Linn County. This grant also has a revolving loan piece for infrastructure that Hightower said she would like to look at this time. This piece would help bring the infrastructure to the new housing development.
Hightower said that if SEKRPC applied for the grant, it would charge a non-refundable $5,000 application fee as well as charging $18,000 to administer the grant if it was received. The $18,000 would come out of the grant funds.
Commissioner Jim Johnson said he would like to have lead time before making the decision and asked if the commission had to make a decision that day.
Hightower said they could take time and look over the information and decide next week.
County Counselor Gary Thompson will review the contract with SEKRPC.
Hightower said she would like to get started right away on this so when the round three request for proposal (RFP) is released, the county will be ready. She said that she thought the county would have a much better chance at if SEKRPC wrote the grant. She said that they would also go over the county’s housing assessment to make sure it included necessary items.
She is slated to bring the issue back to the commission next week after the commissioners have time to think about it.