Franklin County’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) mobile home replacement package is making progress.

At the March 7 county meeting, Deborah R. Belcher of Roumelis Planning and Development Services submitted to the county board a list of homes slated for replacement.

The project would expend more than $500,000 on five residences with funding provided from a $700,000 CDBG grant awarded in Nov. 2016. The grant includes cost of replacement as well as administrative fees.

“The bids came in higher than I hoped on (exposed coastal properties) but I don’t think we will get better,” Belcher said. “All of the (replacement mobile homes) for (exposed coastal areas) are double-wides. They don’t make single-wides.”

Chairman Smokey Parrish said he was surprised the replacement trailers cost in excess of $100,000. Belcher said the bids included demolition and tree work, where needed, as well as sales tax and in some cases septic abandonment. She said she had hoped more of the residences could be rehabbed.

Commissioner William Massey asked if stick-built homes were a viable option given the cost of the mobile homes.

Belcher said she didn’t think they would be significantly cheaper. She said the county commission had specified replacing mobile homes with mobile homes, which was not the state policy.

Belcher advised commissioners to proceed with the current bids so that the grant can be closed out by November and allow the county to apply for the next round of CDBG funding.

Because the cost of replacement homes and renovations had been capped at $75,000, commissioners were forced to waive the limit for all of the first five homes to be upgraded.

The replacement homes will be provided by Clayton Homes of Panama City, which underbid the only other proposal from Titan Factory Direct.

Recipients of the first round of funding, all in Eastpoint, are: Frances Hunnings, 323 Patton Drive, who was awarded $128,361 for a double-wide trailer elevated seven feet with an engineered foundation, and handicapped ramp; Ronnie and Vickie Segree, 66 Brian Street, received $108,361 for a double-wide with a ramp for handicapped accessibility; Sally Moses, 63 Shuler Street, was awarded $108,561 for a double-wide; Sheila Shiver, 768 Ridge Road,, received $82,275 for a single-wide with sewer replacement, tree removal, and a replacement porch; and Josh and Angie Polous, 753 Ridge Road, were awarded $76,275 for a single-wide with a new sewer connection.

The funds are awarded as a conditional grant contingent on the owner residing in the residence for a preset period of time.

“All of the homeowners reviewed the plans for the model proposed for their site,” Belcher said. “Each homeowner was enthusiastic about the proposal. The mobile home replacement contracts will be between the owners and the dealer, with the county providing the funding.”

She said the residual funds, roughly $108,000, will be used for rehabilitation of residences to be identified.