Chairperson Jaramillo called the meeting to order at 6:36 PM.
Linda R. Morad, Housing Programs Supervisor
Guillermina Torrico, Clerical Assistant III
Jo Ann Brannock, PhD
Staff distributed the following packets to the Committee:
MOTION was made, seconded and CARRIED by members present to approve the Minutes of February 23, 2004.
Ms. Morad reported that the City's annual entitlement for CDBG funds this year is $1,831,000 which reflects an approximate $34-36,000 cut from last year. She referenced the financial summary sheet and indicated to the Committee that the total entitlement was listed at the top for their convenience.
She gave this year's HOME budget, $835,000, which is approximately $3,500 less than was allocated last year.
Ms. Morad also advised about a new HUD program, The American Dream Down Payment Initiative, of which the City will get $50,636. She pointed out that unfortunately, at this time, not much training or guideline assistance is available on this program. The City plans to use these funds for grants for people purchasing homes. She advised that the City's Downpayment Assistance Program was suspended and many calls were still coming in for this program. People would have to be below the 80% median income.
Ms. Morad explained to the Committee that the updated financial summary report reflected all of the City requests, the annual entitlement, and the reprogrammable funds of $786,900 (which includes the $693,000 set aside to repay Section 108 plus unused funds from last year).
She provided the established cap maximum and minimum amounts for Public Service, Administration, and Capital Improvement as follows:
These should be noted by the Committee members as decisions are being made as to where to allocate the funds. She stated that the Administration cap should be fine. Also, since all of the funds will be used for Section 108, the Capital Improvements minimum cap will not be a problem.
Committee Member Leon arrived at 6:42 PM.
Ms. Morad informed the Committee that City Department representatives would be presenting their request to the Committee on Tuesday, March 23, 2004. The presentation format would remain the same as it was for the non-profit presentations: ten minutes allowed for a five-minute proposal presentation and a five-minute question/answer session.
Ms. Morad advised the Committee that all City Department requests had applied previously so there were no new or different departmental requests.
She briefly reviewed each request.
|Project:||Fullerton Community Center Project (formerly known as Operation Cleanup)|
Description of Project: Community Services is requesting funds to continue the operation of the two Community Service Centers: The Garnet Center and Valencia Community Center.
The request is the same amount as last year's. However, they were only funded for $100,000 due to insufficient funding dollars being available.
|Project:||Fullerton Tool Bank|
Description of Project: Community Services is requesting funds to continue the operation of their Tool Bank. The Program is designed to loan out tools to residents in the Lemon Park area which is low/moderate income to help them care for their properties and make home improvements. Last year they requested $51,300 and were approved for $49,010.
|Project:||Code Enforcement Program|
Description of Project: Funding is being requested to continue the Code Enforcement program and Neighborhood Enhancement Program through abatement of public nuisances, substandard housing and neighborhood blight. The program includes two code enforcement officers dedicated to problems in low/moderate areas. City Council approved a new Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET) Proactive Code Enforcement Program which will be focused in the area south of Commonwealth between Highland on the west and the railroad tracks on the east. Staff was directed to hire one new code enforcement officer making a total of three officers working solely in the above area. An additional officer will work all other low/moderate areas at City Council's request.
Ms. Morad indicated that last year's request was $223,220 and the department's request had increased due to the direction received from Council.
She informed the Committee that Code Enforcement has a new Acting Supervisor, Kirke Warren due to Jinny Daniel's recent retirement from the City.
Committee Member Leon asked if the new code enforcement officer would be hired with the knowledge that his/her salary is funded by CDBG and would be for a limited time. Ms. Morad advised that the person was not actually hired as of yet. The position has been created and they are asking for applications.
Committee Member Leon asked why the request doubled and if the funds would be reimbursed so that the Committee could have them available to give to non-profits. She also asked for the breakdown of such a high increase in the request.
Ms. Morad advised that Mr. Warren would be able to answer questions during his presentation since the department has worked on the budget. She stated that City Council hopes to improve this situation over the next three years so there would not be any reimbursement of funds. She did indicate that there are current funds available to staff this new Code Enforcement from now until the end of this fiscal year.
The Committee expressed their concern over the long-term commitment expected from CDBG funds and the City's anticipated funding over the next three years which will limit their availability to help other groups with great need.
Committee Member Leon asked if the request would then be indefinite should the problems not improve over the next two/three years. Ms. Morad advised that this decision would be City Council's discretion.
Committee Member Givens asked if this person would be hired with the contingency that improvements must be made over the next two years. Ms. Morad again advised that Mr. Warren would be available for these types of specific questions during the presentation.
Committee Member Strub expressed concern for lack of direction from City Council and Committee Member Leon stated that having a certain amount of the funds already taken would discourage new non-profits from applying each year. Committee Member Jensen-Purser did add that another limitation that's imposed by HUD is the 15% max cap and not so much City Council.
Other concerns were brought up and Ms. Morad expressed to the Committee that their concerns were valid and she explained that City Council was briefed on the process for requesting CDBG funds. She did advise the Committee that their concerns can be voiced at the City Council meeting. She recommended that they can either work with the Chairperson and present as a Committee or speak individually.
|Project:||Housing and Community Development Administration|
Description of Project: Funding for this program will provide for all administrative functions of HOME, CDBG, ADDI, and other housing programs. Included in the request is $200,000 of overhead costs. Last year's request was $357,300. Ms. Morad stated that the funded amount cannot exceed 20% of the total entitlement and the current amount meets that requirement.
|Project:||Housing Rehabilitation Program|
Description of Project: Funding is being requested to continue the Housing Rehabilitation Program.
Ms. Morad stated that the request seems high, but $450,000 would be for loans and grants. She stated that if any funds had to be cut somewhere, this project could actually be cut $10,000 since the number of people served could be limited to the amount available. The remaining $130,000 of this request would go towards salaries.
Ms. Morad advised that the 2004-05 Rehab program will change slightly to try to assist the people that receive Code Enforcement notices. The reason for this is that the people who are cited would be low-income living in low/moderate areas and would qualify for the Rehab loans and grants. These programs would be set up for owner occupied and not owner investors.
Committee Member Elliott asked if the list of homeowners cited would be available so that they could then be assisted through the Rehab Programs. Ms. Morad indicated that Housing staff works very closely with Code Enforcement. She stated that Mr. Warren would explain the areas that will be targeted with the first set being in CDBG areas.
Ms. Morad stated that a community newsletter will go to the Richman Park Area and the new Code Enforcement area describing the new Rehab Program.
Chairperson Jaramillo asked if the same requirements will apply where the whole house has to be inspected. Ms. Morad advised that these programs would be set up as exterior grant programs so total home inspections would not be necessary. She advised that staff's concern is income verification which takes time and the situation for improving these areas will not be as quick as City Council is expecting. She stated that some applicants have been on the list for almost a year.
Committee Member Strub stated that most of the homes in these areas are old homes and asked if the Davis-Bacon and lead-based requirements would still apply. Ms. Morad advised that lead-testing will apply and that a lead-grant will be applied into this program but Davis-Bacon will not apply since they are individual family homes.
Ms. Morad gave an example of a home whose recent bid came over $20,000 due to it being such an old home.
She also gave the update on Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Services (FIES) as another example. She reported that the lead-testing results showed that lead is all over the shelter, including the children's playground and peeling paint. She stated that the City cannot release additional program funds to FIES until the lead gets handled. CDBG funds would be used for the lead-based testing.
There are issues with the FIES 2004-2005 request for electrical work since walls will have to be disturbed and the walls have lead. Also, since CDBG funds are being used for the office, the Davis-Bacon Act would apply. Ms. Morad advised the Committee that staff and the inspector will closely with Ms. Johnson from FIES to try to help her with these issues.
Committee Member Strub stated that since CDBG areas have many old homes it might pose a problem since there will be a significant presence of lead.
Ms. Morad agreed and said that most of the times they have found lead in the window frames.
Ms. Morad gave a progress report on th e 2003/2004 rehab program. She indicated that there is a back log. She stated that although the grant funds have been obligated/expended, there is some money available that was set aside for Block Improvement Grants (east side of Valencia). She stated that $25,000 are available and will be used to move people up in the waiting lists with emergencies such as leaky roofs.
She expressed that staff's concern is that the people referred by Code Enforcement projects will go to the top of the list and the people that have been on the waiting list will get pushed behind. She stated that staff is currently working on the new Rehab program to prevent this from happening.
|Project:||Public Works Facilities|
Description of Project: Engineering is requesting funds to cover construction and administrative costs incurred in the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Highland and Valencia and the installation of warning lights at the intersection of Highland and Elm.
Ms. Morad advised that this project will benefit the Richman Park Area. She advised that in the past, Traffic Engineering did a study which reported that a traffic signal would not be warranted. Thereafter, a neighborhood group of residents, referred to as the Valencia Task Force has been very proactive and vocal in contacting staff regarding traffic and safety. Engineering will again go out there with another study to determine the findings to justify this installation.
Ms. Morad informed the Committee that a neighborhood meeting open to everyone will be held on April 27th at Richman School. This departmental project as well as Section 108 funding will be discussed at this meeting. Ms. Morad advised that a notice will be sent out to the neighborhood and to the Committee with meeting logistics.
Committee Member Strub asked regarding saving funds over to use in future years. Ms. Morad advised that the full entitlement must be allocated and that no more than a year and a half can be kept in funds since HUD monitors City's spending files.
|Project:||Graffiti Removal Program|
Description of Project: The Maintenance Services Department is requesting funding to partially fund the Graffiti Removal Program.
Ms. Morad stated that these were all of the city requests and pending no increase or change in requests, every applicant's projects would be able to be funded. She indicated that FIES' request might change slightly since their electrical request will affect their management office and they will have to account for the Davis-Bacon Act cost.
Committee Member Strub asked how City Council is looking to use the funds each year or to save funds away for upcoming years when it should not be done. Ms. Morad advised that this will have to be worked out since no more than a year and a half of funds can stay in the account.
Ms. Morad advised that a meeting is scheduled for March 10, 2004 with the Redevelopment Attorney about using Redevelopment funds for Housing Rehab. She explained to the Committee that HOME dollars can only be used for affordable housing projects and they come from HUD. Last year to balance the budget HOME dollars were looked at for Rehab but they ended up being used for another project. Redevelopment dollars is another resource for affordable housing program and they come from City's portion of property taxes.
No public comments.
Chairperson Jaramillo adjourned the meeting at 7:22PM.