Agency rejects city’s proposal to repair homes

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Brookhaven’s funding application for home repair assistance hasbeen turned down again, and city officials are not happy aboutit.

“Our HOME program is not being funded,” Mayor Bob Massengilltold aldermen during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

In the program, through the Mississippi Development Authority,the city was seeking $333,650 to replace homes on BeauregardStreet, Egypt Circle and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Toqualify for rebuilding, the homes had to be deemed substandard infive areas, including roof, electrical and others.

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The city was notified of the rejection in a letter it receivedMonday, Massengill said. In it, Community Services DivisionDirector Dr. Eugene McLemore said limited HOME funds make theselection process very competitive and the city’s application “didnot rate within the funding range.”

Massengill voiced irritation and disappointment with thedecision. He has written a letter to the state agency and isseeking a meeting with officials to discuss the situation.

One reason cited for last year’s HOME application rejection wasthat targeted homes were spread out across the city. This year, inan effort to improve funding chances, city officials chose a”cluster” of homes in Ward Two to include in the application.

“There is no reason for us not to be funded this year,”Massengill said.

Massengill said Roy Geoghegan, of the Southwest MississippiPlanning and Development District, worked “very diligently” on thecity’s application. Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates also complimentedGeoghegan.

“He did a lot of work on this,” Bates said.

Aldermen voted to spread the rejection letter and the mayor’sresponse on the board meeting minutes. Massengill said he will findout answers as to why the city’s application was not funded.

“I don’t like this, and there’s not need playing like I do,”Massengill said.

In another home-related project, Massengill said MississippiEmergency Management Agency officials had been given some requestedadditional information regarding the proposed purchase of severalhomes in flood-prone areas of Ward Three.

Homeowners would be offered the appraised values of their homes,which flood frequently during heavy rains, and move out. Purchasedhomes would be demolished, with the land converted to “green space”and never used again.

The mayor said the city may know something about fundingpossibilities before Christmas.

“We still feel real good about that project,” Massengillsaid.