2013 CDBG/HOME program plan receives approval

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The Finance Committee met on Monday night.  The first item on the agenda had to do with the 2013 consolidated annual plan for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)/HOME Program.  Several representatives from organizations approved for receiving CDBG funds were in attendance; however, no representative from the Urban League was present.

Alderperson David Bogdala had a few questions.  Community development specialist Tony Geliche said that the plan had to be submitted to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department by November 15th.  Bogdala wanted to know when the CDBG Committee met; it was in early October.  Proposals were due the last week of August.  “Ninety percent are totally fine, but there are a few questions to be answered,” said Bogdala.  “For example, Ron Frederick is on the Hope Council’s board of directors, and he is a member of the committee.  I believe he voted on the Hope Council’s proposal.  Mr. Lattimore abstained.”

Bogdala said that there were a number of issues moving forward, and he said that he was not voting for the proposed resolution to approve the plan.  He said that there were still errors and questions.

The resolution was approved by a vote of 3 to 2.  Alderpersons Bogdala and Curt Wilson voted against.

At the Common Council meeting later that evening, Bogdala had more questions.  He wanted to know if the requesting organizations are required to obtain three bids for the work they want to have done.  He said that one organization submitted no bids, and another submitted only one bid.  “Either we should get rid of the requirement or hold people accountable.  I’d much rather send it back, but we up against the clock.  We have to move forward.”

Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia said that he didn’t think that the requesting organizations were required to submit the three bids until later in the process.  Alderperson Anthony Kennedy reminded his colleagues that they were not voting on the disbursement plan tonight.  The organizations are not required to submit the bids before disbursement of funds.  Bogdala asked Geliche what the requirements were.  Gelichi replied that the three estimates in the application are required.  “But,” he said, “it’s up to the committee to continue with the application.  Once they expend the dollars, then it goes out to bid.”

Alderperson G. John Ruffolo requested that a public hearing be opened.  Ray Misner spoke on behalf of New Song Ministries and the work they do in the community to give those newly out of prison in obtaining a second opportunity in life to improve themselves.  They requested $15,000, but received only $1,400.  He was hoping to have the Council reconsider their allocation.

The plan was approved as presented by a vote of 15 to 1.  Here, Bogdala was the sole dissenting voter.

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