CDBG funds have unused money

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At Thursday night’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Committee meeting, Tony Gelichi, city staff, informed the committee members that there is $107,000 of unused funds remaining from 2010.  “Some grantees don’t fully utilize their allocated funds,” he said.  Also, there are balances in the economic development fund, the neighborhood improvement fund, and the housing rehabilitation fund.  “With the elimination of the real estate agent, we haven’t used these funds,” Gelichi said.  Allocations are usually made in mid- to late June.  Gelichi assured the committee that there would be no balance issue.  There will be $844,000 for 2013, plus the balances.

Alderperson Anthony Kennedy was elected chairman, and Alderperson Curt Wilson was elected vice chairperson of the committee at the meeting.

Street improvements, as proposed by the Public Works Department, are short $4 to $5 million.  The commission discussed putting aside $300,000 for them.  Kennedy made a motion to put the full $328,000 to street improvements.  Alderperson Daniel Prozanski said that the reason we need to spend the money quickly is due to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) audits.

Gelichi said that he usually takes the calendar and works backwards.  The city’s proposal needs to be submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by November 15.  The latest Common Council meeting takes place on November 5.  Therefore, recommendations need to be made by October 18.  A thirty-day commentary period is required, backing the date up to September 18.  The meeting to set the allocation plan needs to occur during the last week of June.  The City Plan Commission meets on July 19, the Common Council on August 6.  During the week of September 10, the committee will hear the proposals.

Gelichi said that the proposal presentation process is usually a two-day process.  Anderson Lattimore requested that the proposals be digitized and that no binders be used.  He’d rather bring up the information on his iPad.  Gelichi said that was possible; he’d be able to e-mail the committee members the proposals.

Prozanski suggested careful wording be used when instructing the potential grantees on their presentations to the committee.  “I don’t want them to read to me what’s in the binder.  I want to see what’s beyond that.  I want people to tell me the three most important aspects of their proposals, the highlights of their proposals.  And, we need more time for questions and answers.”  Lattimore suggested a one- to two-page fact sheet, an executive summary.  He also suggested that a common format be used.  Ron Frederick suggested that the presentations be limited to five minutes, not 15, thereby allowing ten minutes for questions and answers.

The meeting is set for Wednesday, June 27, at 5:00 pm.  It should take no more than one-half hour to set the fund allocation plan.

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