August 2, 2008

Waveland to Survey Residents: City Needs Ideas for Grants

By J.R. Welsh, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Aug. 2--WAVELAND -- City residents will be seeing a door-to-door survey taken over the next few days as officials gather information to be used in applications for millions of dollars in federal recovery grants.

Like other governments in Hancock County, Waveland faces an Aug. 8 deadline to submit proposals for a share of nearly $200 million being directed to the county through federal Community Development Block Grants. The money is to be used in projects related to continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Mayor Tommy Longo said off-duty police and fire workers will be circulating surveys throughout city neighborhoods. The surveys will seek information on household income levels, as well as demographics, such as the numbers of residents in households, Longo said.

Part of the criteria for CDBG funds is that grants must be proven to help low to moderate-income residents. "The ability for us to get additional funds is very dependent on this survey," Longo said.

Exact numbers are not available on how much may be approved when proposals are completed, but Longo said a number of city projects may be submitted. They include a new marina and pier that he tentatively values at about $8 million, as well as funding for police and fire complexes, storm water drainage, water and sewer projects in the newly annex area, and construction of a new community center.

Longo said the grant application process is "super competitive" among local governments.

"This is our last gasp to get some of this stuff funded," he said.


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