| By Jason C. Mattox
Three new houses were recently completed in Sardis giving families better living conditions.
The houses were constructed with a federal grant that tears down homes in a state of disrepair.
"Our grant writer, Bill Coker, selected the homes based on condition and household income," Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye said.
Under the terms of the grant, the old houses were torn down and new ones were built on the existing property.
"The homeowners owe nothing for the homes," Dye said. "This was a 100 percent grant that cost neither the city or the homeowners any money out of pocket."
One homeowner, Cordie Gee, who lives at 313 Hernando St., said she is extremely happy with her new home.
"I love my new house," she said. "The people that built it did a really good job, and they finished quicker than we thought they would."
Gee pointed out a few small problems with the home including a rusting sink.
"That is one of the reasons we keep 10 percent of the total project," the mayor said. "It means they have to come back during the first year and repair any problems the homeowners might encounter."
The other two new constructions were built at 312 Percyville St. and 311 Lincoln St. The homes belong to Birda Bowden and Geneva Thompson, respectively.
Dye said the original plan was to have the homeowners in their new homes by Christmas, but due to the weather, it was closer to the start of the new year.
Because all three homes belong to people over the age of 65, the city does not get property taxes.
"We won’t get the property taxes on the houses, but they have gone a long way to improve the appearance of the city, and that counts for a lot," Dye said.
Dye said construction will begin shortly on two additional homes if the city is able to secure additional funds to complete the fifth home.
"At this point we are about $18,000 short of the money it will take to finish the fifth house, but Coker seems to think we will be awarded the additional money," he said.
"If we are able to get the extra money, the construction on the two houses will begin in early February," the mayor added.