EL CENTRO – The Imperial County Board of Supervisors held a second and final public hearing during Tuesday’s regular board meeting to receive public input on potential activities and projects for the upcoming funding coming under the State’s 2016-2017 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.
Every year the California Housing and Community Development (HCD), through its Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), makes grant funds available through different allocations to provide a wide range of possible activities for community development needs. According to the CDBG Grant Management Manual, a public design hearing is required to be eligible for grant funding.
According to Community & Economic Development Manager Esperanza Colio Warren, it is estimated that in 2016-2017, up to $2 million will be available in the State’s CDBG Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) per jurisdiction and $1,350,000 for Colonias allocations.
The Board was approached with several potential projects and requests to be considered for the CDBG Program.
One such organization, Catholic Charities, submitted a letter asking the Board to consider using CDBG funds to cover costs associated with the preparation and deliver of home-delivered and congregate meals to seniors 60 years of age or older who reside in communities and locations outside normal CDBG funding; the costs would include food and personnel who cook and deliver the meals; costs associated with the purchase, operation and maintenance of a temperature-controlled vehicle to transport meals to the seniors in the targeted communities; and the cost associated with the purchase of any food warming equipment needed to expand the services of the Senior Nutrition to locales currently not being served, such as Seeley and Calipatria.
While, Winterhaven Water District Manager, Rick Miller, asked the Board to consider assisting with the funding to resolve waste water issues the city is currently facing.
“We are requesting assistance and funding in waste water issues, we currently have problems with our water pressure tank. The tank was built in 1957, in fact, we are going to shut the city down tomorrow to weld the tank again. We already paid $66,000 for the engineering we just need some additional assistance,” Miller added.
Heber Public Utility District General Manager Laura Fischer also presented the Board with a letter requesting several potential projects; construction of a restroom at the Jiggs Johnson Park, and a basketball court at Margarito “Tito” Huerta Park; construction of a modular building on the corner of Littlefield and Bloomfield to house community services such as the Food Bank community distribution, after school educational programs, and recreation activities; technical study and plans for a multi-family housing development on property owned by the Heber Community Foundation; study for large community park project on 19 acres owned by HPUD, and a Water Sewer Master Plan for HPUD; and install sidewalks in several areas including the area fronting Highway 86, and near school sites.
Department of Social Services and Family Justice Center representative Rocio Ramirez requested funding for tangible emergency services that would include rental and utility assistance and replacement of air condition units.
On April 5, during the first public hearing the Board was presented with requests from the Salton Community Services District who are looking to replace and upgrade firefighter equipment including a new engine and its equivalent, replace two retired and service a type 1 engine (type 1 engine used primarily for structural firefighting) and the Catholic Charities who requested the replacement of old kitchen equipment.
Projects funded with CDBG allocations must meet one or more of the three national objectives, as follows: to benefit low income households or persons, to eliminate slums and blight, or to meet urgent community development needs.
The purpose of the public hearing was to give Imperial County residents an opportunity to make their comments known regarding what types of eligible activities the County should apply for under the State CDBG Program.
According to Colio, all projects requested will be taken into consideration and before presenting the Board with a final list for their approval.