Newsoms unable to obtain grant

Published 11:39 am Friday, August 28, 2015

Southampton County and the town of Newsoms were unsuccessful in obtaining a community improvement grant, county administrator Michael W. Johnson announced at Monday evening’s board of supervisors meeting. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development made more than $8.2 million available for competitive projects across the state, which would have aided the town in its attempt to fix drainage and neighborhood infrastructure and standing water issues.

“During this year’s competitive cycle, there were over 22 proposals submitted by 21 localities,” Johnson said. “Eleven projects received initial funding, while two received multi-year commitments and one received a letter of intent … Unfortunately, the Newsoms Stormwater and Housing Rehab Project was not among them.”

A preliminary study from B&B Consultants estimated that the project would slightly exceed $1.3 million, making it impossible for the county to finance without a large grant.

“We intend to seek a debriefing from the Department of Housing and Community Development staff to learn how we might strengthen the submission of our application for the next round of funding,” Johnson added.

In February, the county adopted several precontractural documents in hopes that it would enhance the competitiveness of the grant application. This included 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.