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Guyton, Habitat seeking solution
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Guyton looks to restart its historic preservation board


Guyton is taking steps to breathe new life into its historic preservation commission.
Council members tabled approving members to the five-person board but indicated they wanted to move the process along.
“The Historic Preservation Committee grew dormant,” city attorney Ramona Bartos said. “Several people moved out of town. The terms on the others have expired.”
One seat lapsed in August 2007. Two others expired in August 2008 and the remaining two seats’ terms expired last August.
The Historic Preservation Committee has to be in place before the city can get historic protection, Bartos said. The action to table the nominations for new members is expected to allow for more names to be brought forward.
“This will start the ball rolling,” Bartos said.

Guyton city officials are looking into what they can do to help a family moving into a Habitat for Humanity for home.

George Groce, executive director of Habitat’s Effingham chapter, asked Guyton City Council if there were any community block development grant funds available to assist Mariya Thomas and her family moving into a Habitat home on Magnolia Street.

“We have a target date of getting Mrs. Thomas into her home on Feb. 2,” Groce said. “I think they look forward to being good citizens of Guyton.”

Habitat is asking for help with the water and sewer tap fees. City attorney Ramona Bartos could operate as a consortium with other cities and the county to receive those kinds of funds under the Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program.

HUD’s HOME program provides grants on a formula basis to states and local governments. Those grants are then often used in partnership with non-profit organizations for such things as buying, building or rehabilitating affordable housing.

The largest federal block grant to state and local governments, HOME is designed to create affordable housing for low-income households.
State governments receive at least $3 million in HOME funds. If a state’s formula allocation is greater than $3 million, the state would receive the higher amount. Local governments eligible for at least $500,000 in formula HOME funds also may receive an allocation. Non-qualifying communities may join with other local governments in a consortium whose members’ combined allocation would meet the threshold for direct funding.

Groce told council members that Habitat will send a check for $12,900 to Effingham County for its property taxes, the taxes on land that used to generate no revenue.

“Our families take pride in their houses,” he said. “For the county and the city of Guyton, it’s a win-win situation.”

Council members also approved the first reading of a water and sewer ordinance that would change the base rate of sewer service from $18 to $20.