Le Sueur and Surrounding Cities Receive Housing Development Funds from County

Minnesota Housing Grants

Le Sueur County in Minnesota is set to give back a significant sum of grant funding, originally intended for home renovations, to several local cities. This allocation may potentially be used for residential home improvements in the municipalities of Le Center, Elysian, Waterville, and New Prague.

The sum in question, a total of $110,846, is a portion of a larger grant that Le Sueur County received from the Minnesota Small Cities Development Program back in 2010. This original grant, amounting to $483,000, was intended to fund repairs for 20 owner-occupied homes dispersed across the four aforementioned communities.

The county distributed the funding to homeowners as a deferred loan set to last for ten years. The condition of this arrangement was that if the homeowners maintained ownership of their properties for the entire decade without selling or transferring them, the loan would be converted into a grant that wouldn’t require repayment. However, many of the recipients chose to vacate their properties within that timeframe, resulting in the return of about $110,000 to Le Sueur County.

Recently, on January 4, the Le Sueur County Commissioners approved a decision to redistribute these returned funds back to the original communities from which they were derived. The idea is to empower these cities to create their development programs. As per this decision, the cities of Le Center and Elysian will each receive $21,000, while the city of Waterville will receive $50,369, and the city of New Prague will be allocated $18,477.

County Commissioner David Preisler explained to the Le Center City Council during their meeting on April 11, that the sum allocated could be used to develop their programs. He suggested that the money could be used to address issues like property blight or provide loans to homeowners for necessary home improvements. The application of the funds should be fairly flexible, but they are intended for projects that contribute to the betterment of local communities.

According to a county resolution, the funds may be applied to eligible expenses as defined by the Small Cities Development Program grant, as long as they meet one of three federal objectives. These objectives dictate that a project must either serve the benefit of low or moderate-income individuals, contribute to the elimination of slums and blight, or address an urgent public safety threat.

The original funds received by Le Sueur County were in the form of housing grants that were obligated to assist low or moderate-income residents in their efforts to rehabilitate local housing. The Small Cities Development Program, however, also provides grants for improving or developing essential facilities like wastewater treatment plants, water wells, and towers. Moreover, comprehensive grants are also offered to local businesses for the purposes of improving their premises, addressing building code violations, and resolving health and safety concerns.

Dan Evans, the City Administrator of Le Center, expressed that the city administration was not aware of the upcoming grant funds until the recent council meeting. As a consequence, city staff are still in the process of developing a comprehensive plan for the effective utilization of the funds.

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