Iowa Economic Development Authority grant helps home owners rehabilitate their properties.

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — An application that could help at least six Columbus Junction home owners rehabilitate their homes was approved by the city council Wednesday following a public hearing.

Mayor Mark Huston reported there were no objections or comments received on the city’s proposal to seek a Community Development Block Grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Regional planner Dan Eberhardt with Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission recommended last month the council apply for $350,000 in funding, using the same target area the city identified in a 2017 CDBG application.

The 2017 application was not awarded any funds, but Eberhardt reported the city’s proposal came close. He also told the council last month he expected the 2018 application would be the last available through the CDBG program and competition likely would be high.

If the city were to receive an award, up to $24,999 in assistance would be available to a minimum of six eligible homeowners as a forgivable loan.

A variety of work would be eligible to be completed on the homes, including plumbing, electrical, heating, roofing, windows, siding and doors. Additional assistance would be available to mitigate lead paint hazards.

In addition to income limits, eligible homeowners must have owned and lived in their home for at least six months, have the home insured, property taxes paid, be in compliance with city ordinances and be willing to have a five-year mortgage on the property.

The application deadline is May 4 and Huston said he expected to know later in the summer if Columbus Junction’s application was approved.

In other action, city council approved the appointment of Twyla Peters to the city’s park board.

Huston also reported the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and officials with Gross-Wen Technologies were continuing to exchange emails in an effort to determine if the company's  algae-based system was capable of meeting sewer treatment standards for the city.

There was no indication from the emails when a final determination will be made, he said.