The Carbon County Board of Commissioners, on Thursday, opened bids for five home rehabilitation program projects in the county. This program helps low-income residents fix problems at their home.

The recipients, who remain anonymous as part of the program's process, can receive up to $12,000 in funding through Act 137, which is generated through fees charged for the recording of documents in the Carbon County Recorder of Deeds office. Those funds are then used to repair necessary items in their homes such as heating systems, roofing, siding, or electrical and plumbing systems.

This year's bids ranged from $3,205 to $17,423. Contracts will either be awarded or rejected at next week's commissioners' meeting.

Commissioner William O'Gurek explained that the county does this program as a way to help the residents in need.

"It's for those less able to rehab homes," O'Gurek said.

He commended county Recorder of Deeds Emmett McCall, who helped make the program sustainable in Carbon County since 2000.

Since then, the fees have generated over $1.2 million for housing rehabilitation projects and $216,000 in administration costs.

The county tries to help at least 10 homeowners a year through this program, but the waiting list continues to grow, while the funding continues to shrink as a result of the poor housing market. Currently, there are about 230 families on the waiting list for the program.

O'Gurek said that there are income guidelines families must meet to be eligible for the program.

Families of two can have no more than $46,000 a year income. The income guidelines go up proportionately per person after that.

The program is free, as long as the homeowner does not sell the house within three years of the rehabilitation project. If they do, then they must repay the county the cost of the project.

O'Gurek urged anyone who feels they may qualify for the program to call the Carbon County Office of Planning and Development for more information. They can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at (570) 325-3671.