Community grant may aid in fixing Newsoms’ drainage issues
Published 10:31 am Friday, March 6, 2015
Because years of standing water and flooded ditches have created favorable conditions for mold to grow and mosquitoes to thrive, the Town of Newsoms contracted a large consulting firm — B&B Consultants Inc. — in early 2013 to study effective ways of improving drainage issues.
The Southampton County Board of Supervisors subsequently assisted the town in applying for a planning grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. This enabled the Town to assess housing, drainage and neighborhood infrastructure issues and develop a plan to cure the identified deficiencies.
The County was ultimately successful in obtaining the grant, and has since been contemplating the firm’s recommendation of dividing the town into four drainage sub-basins.
As the plan continues to take shape, the County has positioned itself to apply for the 2015 Community Improvement Grant. Before the application is submitted, however, DHCD recommended that the County adopt several precontractual documents that would enhance the competitiveness of said application.
Among those formalities, the County adopted a Section 504 self-evaluation narrative to make sure that the County offices and programs are accessible to all, including those with a disability; a 504 self-evaluation checklist that shows whether or not the county administrative offices are up to accessibility standards; a Section 504 grievance procedure to provide prompt and equitable resolution of any possible complaints alleging prohibited actions by the Department of Housing and Urban Development; a local business and employment plan that awards construction, material or supply contracts to businesses within Southampton County, and encourages those contractors to hire lower-income residents; a residential anti-displacement and relocation plan certification, which replaces all low- to moderate-income dwellings that are demolished or converted for another use within three years, and provides relocation assistance to those displaced; a non-discrimination policy stating that the County will not discriminate against an employee or applicant because of race, age, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran; and a fair housing certification to keep the rebuilt dwellings affordable.
The application will be voted on at this month’s supervisors meeting, as it must be submitted by Wednesday, March 25.
The monetary amount of the grant will be determined at a later date and will be based on research done by the DCHD. It is estimated that the department has more than $15.8 million available for distribution to communities in need throughout the state, approximately $10.3 million of which will be made available for competitive projects such as that in Newsoms. After their preliminary study, B&B Consultants estimated that the total cost of the project would slightly exceed $1.3 million.