County, School Districts to Receive SRS Funds 

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – During the May 8 session of the Houston County Commissioners Court, the court was given a presentation concerning the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Home Development Program.

County Judge Jim Lovell introduced Jeffield Jefferson and said the retired City of Houston executive “… wanted to give a short presentation on some things he had going and wanted to make known to the county.”

Jefferson said he was originally from Crockett and wanted to see what he could do once he returned to the oldest county in Texas.

“I came back and found, over the years, a lot of the homes had gotten old, just like me,” he added with a laugh.

Jefferson said he began to do some research and became aware of several housing programs, specifically the USDA’s Rural Home Development Program.

“There is what we call the ‘Single Family Home Program.’ In this program the USDA will extend up $179,000 for 33 years with 3.75 percent interest for low and very low income working families. Some people can afford this on the salaries they are earning today,” he said.

The second program Jefferson described was the Single Family Home Renovation Program.

“This is now available in state of Texas and the county. It allows an individual up to $20,000, with 20 years to pay it back with one percent interest. There are a lot of people who can afford a $50, $60 or $70 note,” he said.

Jefferson added there was also a program in place where if a person is age 62 or above, up to $7,500 is available for renovation and does not have to be repaid, provided the person remains in the same dwelling for the next three years.

“The third and final program is a multi-family program which starts to do things with assisted living. As you know, the demand for assisted living is increasing,” he said.

For more information on these programs, Jefferson suggested Houston County residents should contact their county commissioner.

As the meeting continued, County Auditor Melissa Mosley announced funds linked to the Secure Rural Schools Act had been transferred from the federal government to the Office of the Texas Comptroller for disbursement.

“We should be receiving those funds in the next 30 days,” she explained. “Houston County’s portion is $371,085.70. We have already received roughly $56,000 which will be deducted from that. This will be available for you to budget with for Oct. 1.”

The funds are split 50/50 between the county and the school districts within the county using a proportional basis for the ISDs.

In other matters brought before the court:

  • The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
  • The payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county was approved.
  • The Houston County Treasurer’s, Compensatory, Environmental and Community Service reports were all received as information by the commissioners.
  • No action was taken on the approval of a new contract with TAKET Holdings, LLC for inmate healthcare.
  • No action was taken on the approval of the first optional renewal for fiscal year 2019 and the amending of a contract between the county and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
  • May 15 was proclaimed as Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.