Marion County Council discusses plans for Federal grant money

MARION, SC (WBTW) – Leaders in Marion County worry a federal grant for Hurricane Matthew victims will leave out a lot of people in need. 

The feds plan to spend $52 million dollars to Marion County but the grant is only for low-income housing. 

Rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew has not been easy for Marion County Chairman Buddy Collins says the county is grateful for the $52 million dollar disaster relief grant from the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Collins said, “We are most appreciative of what we have got. Congressman Rice has been a blessing to Marion County. Because without what we’ve had I don’t know what we would have done.”

Last week the county sent this letter to Congressman Tom Rice asking to allow them to use the money for more than low-income housing. 

“We’ve asked for money to help revitalize everything in Marion County rather than just housing,” Collins explained.

During today’s county council meeting a person from Congressman Rice’s office listened to their concerns.

“We have a lot of people that at the mid-range income that lost their houses, “he said. “And that is just about as big of an impact on them as it is on other people. Because they at the point with no insurance having to tear down and start over.”

Marion County Council would also like to use some of that money for road repairs and help small businesses.

Sharon Rodriguez owns the Bobby Rodriguez Seafood and More restaurant in Mullins.

“We had to take up the floors, we had to replace the carpets, we had to replace the ceiling tiles,” Rodriguez said.

She says the repairs cost her $15 thousand dollars and took two months to reopen. 

“We still need help. The ceilings need to be repaired. The bathrooms need to be done. There is water still in one of the bathrooms,” she explains.

Rodriquez says recovering from the hurricane has been so stressful, she believes it caused her husband and chef of the restaurant to have a massive heart attack he died the day after Christmas.

“The stress from Matthew and putting out all the money – where we’d get it from. We had to pull from here from there and borrow from here and there to try and get the doors open.”

She hopes to get some help because she wants to keep the business open in honor of his life.

“When I walk in – in the morning the first thing I do is say Good morning Vincent because I can feel his presence. This was his baby.”