One of the Cobb Law Group‘s construction paralegals, James Eubanks, also serves as mayor of Pelham, Georgia. Consequently, James brings a wealth of knowledge about government contracting, government bidding, and government financing to our public works projects practice. Today, we are pleased that James has contributed an article to our Georgia Construction Law Blog. In this article, James highlights pertinent information regarding Georgia’s Community Development Block Grants
Several communities in Georgia have been awarded Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The grants work to ensure decent affordable housing, provide services to the most vulnerable communities, and create and maintain jobs through business retention and expansion. Most of Georgia’s cities fall below the $50,000 federal limit for CDBG which allows the State of Georgia to oversee the distribution of the funds. Most projects have been able to get up to $500,000.00 in funding in previous years. The state has now raised the maximum amount to $750,000.00 for most projects. This is, of course, a needs based grant so many of the projects may request less money to help meet the competitive needs based assessment.
There are different requirements for each, and our local contractors need to be aware of how to be in the running for these opportunities. The infrastructure upgrades and repairs are bid out and administered as most any public project would be. The housing section allows the homeowner to select a contractor from a list of qualified contractors that are pre-approved by the state. With the economic grants the industries receiving the money will have more control over who is selected as the contractor when needed. Currently, Georgia is the number one state in which to do business in the United States. Leveraging funds like the CDBG is an important way for Georgia to remain competitive in business and provide for our communities and residents.
Georgia’s Infrastructure Benefits for Community Development Block Grants: CDBG grants are often the only way small communities can maintain and upgrade their utility systems. These grants are widely used by small municipalities throughout Georgia. Several grant writers specialize in these grants and are very successful in getting these grants year after year to keep projects and upgrades going to many towns & communities throughout Georgia. Engineering firms usually over see the work and select contractors in a bid process. Frankly, the infrastructure throughout Georgia cities is aging and in urgent need of upgrades and replacement. These funds provide an opportunity to help address these issues when funds from other sources such as taxation are not enough to keep these systems in proper working order. Due to the age and quantity of the infrastructure improvements needed in Georgia and throughout the country this will be an important need for years to come.
Community Housing Initiative Benefit from Community Development Block Grants: Housing projects grants operate a little differently than the grants for Georgia’s intrastructure. The grant administrator compiles a list of qualified contractors and allow the homeowner to chose which contractor will perform the work on their home. The houses in the areas that qualify for these grants may all have different needs. Some homes may need rewiring, some may need plumbing work or a new roof. Some of the homes may be in such bad shape as to require total replacement. There is opportunity here for several different contractors. Some may require a General Contractor and some may only need an Electrician, a Plumber, or a Roofing Contractor. This is an excellent opportunity for our local contractors to work on one or two jobs or an entire neighborhood.
Grants Help Local Contractors: Federal grant money has been awarded and set aside for these projects such as those describe here. Federal requirements and inspections must be met for the funding but the funds are available to be paid. This may require contractors to be patient for funds and plan for and budget for delays in payment. The CDBG grant will cover the most needed repairs to a home not always everything the home owner wants to accomplish so this may also provide future work opportunities.
Municipal Leaders Can Use Grants to Stimulate Local Economies through Construction: CDBG is used to retain–and support–job growth in our local communities in several areas. This is a tool our local leaders can use to help small business development and large-scale commercial or industrial development which helps with job retention and job creation. This support can be through grants that flow through the local governments and also revolving loan funds that can be used by local governments to support incubation of local businesses. This money is invested directly into the industry or business. These funds still have stipulations but the business has more freedom in choosing contractors that can perform the work needed to their specifications.
In conclusion This is a great opportunity for our local communities to improve infrastructure, housing and property values, and retain and expand employment options. We look forward to this program continuing and hopefully expanding with resources and scope. We have great demand for the improvements this funding supports. This is also an important driver for our local contractors. Everyone should be aware of these projects that continue in our local communities. Please take time to look for more details on requirements for application, funding, and fulfilling the construction and work needs related to these projects at www.hudexchange.info and https://dca.ga.gov.