Despite some discussion of delaying the deadline, the county closed the process for bids to manage and administer the recipients of the $2.7 million Neighborhood Stabilization program on June 8, after receiving more than 50 responses.
The grant, which was approved in March as part of the federal stimulus efforts, aims to identify and purchase foreclosed single family homes, rehabilitate them and sell them to moderate income families and individuals.
At the June 8 Board of Commissioners’ work session, Chief of Staff R.J. Hadley was questioned about the request for proposals process and the evaluation of applicants.
Commissioner JaNice Van Ness expressed concern that there was no pre-bid meeting to put all the bidders on the same page, a process normally done for construction bids in the county. "I was left with a feeling it’s like going to compare apples and oranges, grapes and cherries. How in the world are you going to pick and score grant applications?" she said.
"We’re trying to follow guidelines from DCA and county guidelines," said Hadley, who explained the pre-bid meeting was not required by the Department of Community Affairs, which is administering the program in Georgia.
"We’re playing by their rules and we can’t play by our rules," said Chairman Richard Oden.
When asked about the possibility of delaying the deadline, Hadley said "I strongly encourage you not to impose that condition on us. We have a good procedure in place."
Van Ness also asked about the possibility of adding two community members along with the three person committee of county employees to evaluate the applications, to add more accountability. Hadley agreed this could be possible.
The county is looking to purchase and rehabilitate around 20 homes and is looking for an asset management firm to identify the areas in Rockdale of greatest need, identify possible homes and to "implement a process that leads to lasting home ownership."