Staff sends federal Block Grant funding recommendations to city council
Recommendations on how to spend about $1.1 million in federal money on local programs in the coming fiscal year were made to the Yuma City Council recently.
The city gets an allotment from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) each year. The money must be used to improve the lives of persons mainly of low and moderate income.
Joy Crist, the city's senior neighborhood services specialist, and Bill Lilly, the city's neighborhood services manager, briefed the council on the recommendations during Tuesday's council work session.
This year city staff's recommendations are the same as the recommendations made by a seven-member citizen advisory committee which helps oversee the CDBG program, Crist said.
The recommendations will be published in The Sun soon and then public comments on them will be taken for the next 30 days, Crist said. Call 373-5187 for more information.
The council is scheduled to approve the recommendations after a public hearing during its regular council meeting on April 21. The meeting is tentatively scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The council is being recommended to spend a total of $675,100 on eight different programs geared toward housing and neighborhood revitalization.
Most notably, the council is being asked to use $200,000 of the overall CDBG amount to help replace rundown mobile home parks in the Carver Park neighborhood with new manufactured housing.
This replacement program has been controversial because it will force current residents of the mobile home parks to move while the old mobile homes are torn down and new, larger, manufactured housing goes up. Because the new housing will be more spacious, it's unlikely that all of the displaced families will be able to return once the work is done.
Lilly said he will provide council members within a week with a detailed analysis of the plan to create several new manufactured home subdivisions in Carver Park.
It's also being recommended that $40,000 be spent on economic revitalization and $80,000 on a plan to assist the Yuma High School neighborhood, among other things.
A total of $236,000 for 11 programs involving neighborhood services is also being recommended. The largest chunk of that money - $50,000 - will go to a school-based youth counseling program.
Amberly's Place - a facility that assists victims of domestic and sexual assault - is only being recommended for a grant of $20,000, which is about 40 percent less than it has gotten in previous years, said Councilman Paul Johnson.
Johnson asked Crist why such a needed program was being cut so drastically. She replied that it's because this will be the fifth year that Amberly's Place has come to the city for funding.
She had previously said that none of the nonprofit organizations have been "fully funded," explaining that they need to show either growth, an increase in profits, or new programs to continue to be fully funded.
Lilly said that another federal program called "Weed and Seed" will likely give some money to Amberly's Place because it has awarded Yuma $175,000 for substance abuse and domestic violence programs.
Councilman Al Krieger noted that Yuma has had some fraud and theft in some of these programs in recent years and asked Crist if there was any oversight being done on the programs.
Crist said she checks program documents and monitors them monthly.
Another $225,000 of the CDBG money will go towards general administration and planning of the various programs. Another $47,074 has not yet been programmed, Crist said.
In addition to its CDBG funds, the city estimates it will collect $186,174 in income from the payback of various loans of CDBG money that have been made in previous years.
The city's CDBG program recommendations will be submitted to HUD for approval on May 15, Crist said.
If the council adopts the recommendations on April 21, the money will become available July 1.