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Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

CDBG Presentations

Minutes
Wednesday, March 14, 2001

BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE MINUTES

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Presentation

Minutes

March 14, 2001, 7:00pm

City Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

 

 

ROLL CALL

Present: David Williams, Howard Braham, Russ Silbiger, Chris Hearns, Cameron Hanson, Cate Hartzell

Staff: Lee Tuneberg, Brandon Goldman, Kirsten Bakke

Absent: Maria Harris, Associate Planner

CALL TO ORDER

Russ Silbiger called the meeting to order at 7:08pm.

OPENING DISCUSSION

Goldman gave some background information on the Community Development Block grant. Federal program established in 1975, to benefit lower to moderate-income people. Primary objective is the development of healthy communities by providing decent housing and suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities to persons of low and moderate income. All three of the applications presented are activities that can be funded by CDBG funds. The City anticipates receiving $230,000 in CDBG funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), of this $149,000 is to be awarded to eligible programs in accordance with the consolidated plan. The consolidated plan is an outline of how the City anticipates using the CDBG funds, which was adopted on May 2nd, 2000 for the next five-year period. The consolidated plan sets forth spending priorities in the following order of importance; housing, homelessness, poverty, other special needs, and community development. The following compliance criteria are used for rating the eligibility of the proposals:

  1. The Project provides benefit to a demographic group that has a need documented in the City of Ashland CDBG Consolidated Plan
  2. The project assists low and moderate-income households in substantially improving their living conditions. The proposed project must have or be part of a comprehensive approach that takes clients from the beginning to the end of the process that improves their living conditions. "Safety net" services, or services that meet basic needs shall only be funded if it can be demonstrated that clients receiving those benefits are part of a program that will eventually help them obtain self sufficiency. Exceptions to this requirement are projects targeted at helping people with special needs.
  3. The project is a proven effective strategy to improve conditions or solve an identified problem.
  4. If the project is related to affordable housing, the project retains the units as affordable. The longer the period of time the units remain affordable, the higher ranking the project shall be given
  5. If the project is related to economic development for jobs for low and moderate-income people, at least 51% of the jobs shall be held by low and moderate income people. The longer period of time the jobs are held by low and moderate-income persons, the higher the ranking the project shall be given. The larger percentage of jobs held by low and moderate-income persons the higher the ranking the project shall be given.
  6. The project maximizes partnerships in the community
  7. The project has at least 10% of the total project in matching funds. The larger the amount of matching funds the higher the ranking the project shall be given
  8. The project utilizes already existing resources in effective and innovative ways. The project shall not duplicate service provided by another organization
  9. The agency submitting the proposal has the capacity to carry out the project
  10. The budget and time line are well thought out and realistic
  11. The project is ready for implementation
  12. The proposal demonstrates CDBG funds are the most appropriate funding source for the project

Goldman clarified that the public service proposed by ICCA is a qualifying objective, however in their case there is a question if those positions being funded in a previous year would qualify. CDBG is set up to initiate programs and not as a sustaining resource. Williams asked about typical sources for matching funds. Goldman explained that typical sources for the matching funds often include in kind contributions from other members of the community, or in the case of land acquisitions one of the in kind contributions would be the Realtor services, or a percentage of the funds in purchasing the land and the construction of the units. Hartzell mentioned that HUD grants would also be considered matching funds. Goldman explained that money the City of Ashland has given to the Ashland Community Land Trust for acquisition, can be a matching fund. However money from CDBG funds given to the Ashland Community Land Trust would not be considered matching funds. Hartzell asked if there was a requirement for 10% non-federal matching funds. Goldman deferred to Maria Harris to answer that question. Silbiger asked if it was still staffs official position that the ICCA proposal cannot be funded because it is not an eligible use. Goldman explained that if the applicants produce information that state those are not the same positions being funded in a subsequent year then that would change the staff’s recommendation. At this point with the application that we have in hand it does seem evident those are the same positions that were funded previously. Hartzell clarified her understanding that the shelter position was new and that the support position might not be new. Hearns asked what was the result or repercussions of being out of compliance. Goldman explained that the City is responsible to demonstrate that any project that they grant CDBG funds to be eligible. If HUD deems at a later date that the project is not eligible they may retroactively take those funds back from the City. Hartzell said it might also jeopardize our qualification to apply for further funding. Goldman explained CDBG funds are typically given to the state for communities of our size and then the state distributes them to those areas of the highest need. The City of Ashland is the only city under 50,000 population which receives money directly from HUD, so they may look at it very closely as to whether the funds are being used appropriately.

PRESENTATIONS

Ashland Community Land Trust (ACLT) $73,000

Acquisition of Vacant Land for Affordable

Housing Units and Preschool

Joe McKeever, Secretary, Treasurer and founding board member of ACLT along with Cindy Dyer from Access Inc. presented for the ACLT. Dyer explained that the reason they are teaming together with Kid's House is that last November they learned that the home Kid's House is currently occupying was put up for sale. After researching a purchase they decided against purchasing the current site based on a number of factors. Land Trust and Kid's House decided to talk to developer John Fields and identified a potential for a mixed use building in his new development. Dyer stated that environmental review was a standard operating procedure for any funds received so that’s not an issue in terms of compliance. 100% of the housing units would be for low and moderate-income people. The new facility would allow Kid's House to double their size and once the site was secure they would do outreach to insure that 51% of the people served by Kid's House would be low to moderate-income persons. The funds that are requested are for acquisition as well as services. Total acquisition is $140,000, $75,000 from last years CDBG funding, so an additional $65,000 would cover the acquisition. The other $8,000 is for services, which would be used for staffing, so that the land trust can work with homeowners. Kid's House facility would be used in the evenings to give classes for the homeowners, to help them maintain self-sufficiency, not intended to be an open forum. Hartzell asked if the Community Center was part of Kid’s House so that it wouldn’t lend itself to renting it out. Dyer said the building would be used for things specific to ACLT families. Hartzell asked if you got more money than you asked for tonight could they bank it so that it is available for future projects. Dyer said yes that if it's an eligible use, and it was possible they could get a larger parcel. Dyer said the proposed site is already deemed clean, but a possible larger site is not yet deemed clean. The larger site is not owned by the railroad, but is adjacent to the railroad cleanup property. It was cleaned to industrial standards but there would be no additional cost to take it to residential standards, because it would be the Railroad's responsibility, and could be completed within the next 3 weeks. If that site became available ACLT would prefer that site because it is a larger site. Williams asked if the numbers stated in ACLT proposal included college housing. Dyer said No. Hartzell asked if the numbers were from the consolidated plan. Dyer said yes. Hartzell asked about rentals, stating they were sourly lacking, would the $8,000 for staffing would go to administration for rentals, and would Access do that for a period of time. Dyer said Access would be a support for ACLT, until ACLT could fully perform those duties. Carlos added that regarding the question about $8,000 for staffing, it is important for ACLT to establish autonomy, and have staff necessary to run itself. $8,000 in operations, will be used not only for functional things like managing apartments, but also for writing grants for steady income flow to achieve the goal of autonomy and self-support

 

Harvest Built Homes $120,000

Acquisition of Vacant Land for Affordable

Housing Units

Nancy Richardson, Director presented for Harvest Built Homes, explaining that they had a proven strategy similar to Habitat for Humanity. Their priority is to create affordable housing units, including the costs of maintenance and utilities. Straw bale housing addresses those issues. HUD & EPA have taken part in Straw Bale affordable housing projects. Richardson foresees no problems with passing DEQ requirements Total costs to develop the lot with 4-5 units would be $400,000. Richardson said her work, the architect’s labor and materials are donated. Silbiger asked difference in cost straw bale and regular house. Richardson said same as low-end house, but you have to look at factors in life cycle of house. Hartzell concerned about locking in long term status of ownership of house asked about partnering with ACLT. Richardson said Carlus Harris had concerns about the different guidelines regarding sale of the houses. Williams asked for in depth description on framing and rigidity, and durability. Richardson said oldest buildings 100 years old in Nebraska. Framing can be load baring with no frame, or close beam, straw bale building code allows for load baring and nonload baring. Hartzell asked about lending, are they doubling capacity, has the board looked at commitment to become a lender. Richardson said yes, and mortgage funds strictly for buy back. Hartzell asked would board be willing to partner with ACLT. Richardson said yes, but then the money would go to the land trust, because they would be purchasing the land. Silbiger asked if straw bale was limited to single story units. Richardson said no, there is post and beam structure in California. Silbiger said we have more requests than funds, what is minimum needed. Richardson said $70,000. Richardson said they had applied for grants, but not matching grants. Hartzell concerned that land is so costly in town, limited to one story, density in neighborhood. Richardson said they could stretch to fit 7 units on that property. Hartzell asked about square footage, and if they would be attached or separate. Richardson said 1150 square feet and the buildings had foundations. Richardson said yes. Hartzell asked if for insurance reasons it needed to be double walled. There was a discussion about firewall regulations. Hearns asked if they had gone through planning. Richardson said plans are conceptual, architect looked at all issues. Hearns asked about formula used on appraisal note A & B. Richardson said this was the established pattern with Habitat for Humanity. Hearns asked about administering loans using Habitat for Humanity model. Richardson said the funds would be separated. Hearns asked if there were similar organizations to Harvest built homes. Richardson said no ours is only one doing community housing with straw bale and high school students.

 

 

Interfaith Care Community of Ashland (ICCA) $29,400

Staffing

Sharon Schreiber, Executive Director presented for ICCA asking for an emergency services development coordinator.support position What was not reflected in original proposal was the fact that our numbers for service requests had increased beyond projections. Now serving 800 – 1000 per month often higher in summer. Additional position is needed to case manage additional 300-500 and they are hoping for Federal funding to support what they do. In 1998-1999 ICCA started the process of moving from safety net to providing services. 40% of their clients are chronically homeless, 60 % are people who have fallen through the cracks, lost jobs, mental & physical disabilities, senior citizens. There is a substantial need for case management, working with people to get jobs and find housing. ICCA can’t continue with out help. They need a shelter in Ashland and want to integrate homeless families into Medford program, which makes homes available to families for 3 – 6 weeks. Hartzell said that every year they were looking for a grant writer, and this year they are talking about having a part time grant writer and part time case manager, and is that feasible. Schreiber said yes that is the intention. Hartzell asked if they had substantiated the extra demand in this proposal. Schreiber said it was in the revised proposal. Silbiger asked if this was better qualified through social services. Schreiber said they applied for roughly $10,000 through social services this year, however they are precluded from asking for additional funds. Hartzell said since they qualify for both they try to do both. Braham asked the committee if this position qualified for the CDBG funds. Hartzell asked if Schreiber had spoken with Maria Harris regarding the revised plan. Goldman said that he had not seen the revised plan yet. Williams asked if the committee’s actions could be made contingent on the staff’s recommendations. Golden said a strict increase in number of clients serviced does not qualify as a reason to re-fund the same positions., but the modified proposal is to create a new position that is not currently funded, so that your full time equivalent employee staff number will be increasing. Golden said the issue is whether or not these are the same positions previously funded. Braham asked what they would do if they got less than they asked for. Schreiber said they would have to put an end to service. Hansen asked if ICCA ever turned anyone away. Schreiber said yes we do, and sometimes they refer them to another agency or resource. Williams asked what percent of clients are long-term Ashland residents, and what share are transients. Schreiber said offhand 600 people.

Silbiger asked if there was any public input. There were no questions or comments.

 

DISCUSSION

Hartzell said that of the $73,000 ACLT requested $8,000 is actually soft money. So if we grant all of what ACLT has requested we can’t grant all of the $29,400 because the soft money cannot add up to more than the $34,500. Golden said that is correct, that the money that is put towards services can’t be more than 15 % of total allocation. Silbiger said that if we allocate $73,000 we could allocate $26,000 to ICCA. Hartzell wants to make sure that the question concerning new staff is answered to the satisfaction of the committee. Goldman said that the proposal would be in house tomorrow morning and the staff could make a recommendation in the afternoon. Williams asked if they could approve the ICCA grant within limits, and if the ICCA request doesn’t meet the test then redirect that money either to Harvest Built Homes or to next years CDBG funding. Goldman’s understanding is that the rollover funds from one year to the next are looked down upon. Hartzell said that there are two scenarios and that the money would be used this year in one way or the other. Williams said it depends on how the Subcommittee feels they should deal with the Harvest Built Homes request. Hartzell said one possibility is to use the money that may not be used for ICCA and use that soft money portion to further fund ACLT, because they have identified a need for staffing. Hartzell suggested they apply soft money to hard cost.

The Committee discussed the possibility of a partnership with Harvest Built Homes and ALCT. Richardson said Harvest Built Homes would be happy to partner with ACLT.

Hartzell motioned for one of 2 scenarios:

    1. Fund ICCA for $29,500, and fund ACLT for $120,000, for a total of $149,500. Contingent on ICCA meeting the criteria for funding.
    2. or if ICCA doesn't meet funding criteria,

    3. Full funding for ACLT for $149,500, stipulating that an upper cap spent on staff would be $12,000 going to new position.

Hearns seconded the motion. All Ayes. Tuneberg asked if we have to reconvene. Williams said we can deal with it at the Full Budget Meeting. Tuneberg suggested follow scenario 1 & 2, as we will be addressing all grants at the Full Budget Meeting. All agreed.

ADJOURNMENT

Silbiger motioned to adjourn. ALL AYES. None opposed. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 10:20pm.

Respectfully submitted by Kirsten Bakke, Administrative Assistant

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