Council mulls options for Community Development Block Grant funding
Council to decide course of action on CDBG funds at next meeting, April 14
At a workshop held after last night's meeting, City Council considered options for how the City will allocate its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for fiscal year 2015. In a presentation to council, Community Services Director Mitch Kennedy said that while 70 percent of CDBG funding must benefit low to moderate income city residents, council has broad discretion over how those funds are otherwise allocated.
Up to 15 percent of CDBG funds can be allocated by Council to outside organizations in the form of Public Service Grants. Due to a one-time increase in CDBG funding, that number would total $220,000 in 2015. However, Council is not obligated to allocate those funds, and staff is recommending that Council set a $70,000 annual maximum on Public Service Grants for fiscal years 2015–19.
CDBG funding also covers demolition of condemned structures, with the City typically receiving $100,000, enough to demolish 8 to 10 houses each year. Kennedy said that currently, 16 houses in the City warrant immediate demolition. Staff recommended that Council allocate $241,000 for demolition through June 2015, allowing up to 25 structures to be demolished. Additionally, staff recommended increasing the amount allocated for demolition by $50,000 in fiscal years 2016–19, allowing faster removal of problem structures in the city.
Council also discussed spending $200,000 to demolish the Sunshine Inn on Church Street, also using CDBG money. The problematic motel on the Northside was recently acquired by the Northside Development Corp. for around $600,000. Once demolished, the site will become a new gateway into Northside redevelopment area, with a plan calling for Evins Street to be extended from Wofford College into the neighborhood (click here to view a map).
Council will ultimately decide how it chooses to allocate CDBG funding at its next meeting on April 14.
Also at last night's meeting, Council voted unanimously to award a contract to repair a hanger at the Downtown Memorial Airport recently damaged in a wind storm. Clayton Construction was the eligible low bidder at $92,814.
For more on Monday's City Council meeting and workshop, see the full video and roundup of our live tweets below.