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Oxford council applies for block grant to fund improvements

OXFORD — The City Council voted on Tuesday to apply for a Community Development Block Grant for the purpose of making improvements to downtown Oxford, demolishing vacant structures and widening Friendship Road.

The block grant is administered under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the purposes of funding local community development projects to provide affordable housing, combat poverty and develop infrastructure.

“We were able to get all three phases of Friendship [Road] designed,” said Jana Monday, a business developer with CDG Engineers who is working with the city on the project. “That is a sizable project.”

The amount of the block grant is $450,000, with the city providing a local cash match of $278,850.

The resolution authorizing the mayor to sign the application states that the improvement to downtown Oxford funded by this block grant will “eliminate the presence of slum and blight and will benefit the low and moderate income residents that reside in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown.”

In other business, the council:

— Approved a resolution appointing a number of election officials for the upcoming municipal election.

— Authorized the city clerk to perform all election duties required to be performed by the mayor.

— Appointed Marc Webb as the absentee election manager.

— Entered a contractual agreement with Calhoun County to provide custodial services and use county equipment to conduct the election in the amount of $9,972.32.

— Declared Alton L. Craft as the duly elected mayor, Charlotte Hubbard as duly elected to council Place 2, Chris Spurlin to council Place 4 and Steven Waits to council Place 5. Those incumbents were the only candidates to qualify in their positions for city elections planned for Aug. 25.

— Approved a resolution transferring the existing cable franchise held by Sparklight to Hargray.

— Placed municipal liens at 1609 Joe St., 59 Ina Lane, 3701 Valleyview Drive and 37 Sunny Eve Road.

— Entered executive session for “possible discussion of litigation,” according to Council President Chris Spurlin.

— Approved an emergency motion to allow the mayor to allocate up to $140,000 to Oxford EMS.