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Ahoskie seeks #036;1 million grant

AHOSKIE – In an effort to strengthen one of its neighborhoods, the town of Ahoskie is seeking one million dollars.

At the close of a public hearing at last week’s town council meeting, Ahoskie’s elected leaders approved an application for $1 million in CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds for a project aimed at rehabilitating homes of low to moderate income families living on Snipes Street.

At the public hearing, no one spoke in favor or opposed the grant application process.

According to Don Harvey of the Wooten Company, the town’s engineering firm, 14 units are in need of repair on Snipes Street. He said the grant falls into the “Concentrated Needs” category, meaning it is restricted to homes on Snipes Street. However, the community revitalization project can also include improvements to the town’s infrastructure (water/sewer lines, drainage ditches, etc.) that serves those homes.

This marks the second attempt to gain grant funding for this particular project. Two years ago, the Ahoskie’s grant application to the North Carolina Department of Commerce/Division of Community Assistance made it to the final round before being denied.

This time around, Ahoskie officials placed more weight behind their request by agreeing to a 10 percent local match of the funds. After learning that the match would be based on $900,000 and that it could be stretched over two budget years, town council members agreed to dedicate $45,000 per year over the next two years to hold up their end of the bargain.

Harvey said he would forward Ahoskie’s application to Raleigh by the end of January. He said it would be later this year before the grant recipients are officially announced.

In other business conducted by the Ahoskie Town Council at their Jan. 9 meeting:

Approved a resolution to extend the corporate limits of the town in order to annex 6.03 acres of property where plans call for the subdivision of that tract of land into 10 individual lots and develop single family housing. The property belongs to the Ahoskie Housing Authority and is adjacent to the Pierce Ave. apartment complex.

Awarded a bid in the amount of $18,450 to Roberson’s Home Improvement to re-roof the Ahoskie Fire Department building.

Heard an update from Ida M. Tyler who had previously addressed the council in regards to her efforts to find a location to house a homeless shelter. Tyler told the council that, according to her count, there were 35 homeless people in the Ahoskie area.

Received the 2005-06 audit report from Chris Burton of Pittard, Perry & Crone. Burton said the town was in good financial shape as its assets exceeded its liabilities by $15.44 million.

Heard from Stewart White, the town’s director of Wastewater Treatment, who presented his annual report.

Approved a request from Mike Bradley for town water/sewer service for two lots on NC 561 outside Ahoskie’s corporate limits.

Welcomed new town employee Leon Hall who is serving as an officer with the Ahoskie Police Department.

Recognized Marty Northcott of the Ahoskie Public Works Department as the town’s Employee of the Month for December.

Observed a moment of silence for State House Representative Howard Hunter Jr. and State Senator Robert Holloman, both of whom passed away on the weekend of Jan. 6-7.