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April 2, 2013

Second public hearing scheduled for CDBG allocation

By Sara Kandel
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Kathy Street, between 11 Mile Road and Wildwood, was recommended for asphalt resurfacing through Community Development Block Grant funds in 2013.

ROSEVILLE — A public hearing on the proposed distribution for Community Development Block Grant funds is planned for the April 9 regular City Council meeting in Roseville.

The city is looking at another 5 percent decrease in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s CDBG program money this year.

“We took our budget from last year and reduced it by 5 percent, which brings it to $469,918,” said Mike Connors, Roseville’s community and economic development director.

“In the past two years combined, funding has been cut by 30 percent and this is an additional 5 percent cut, so that’s 35 percent in the last three years, but we are hoping to get six or seven road projects out of this, fund a few nonprofits and put money into the city’s rodent control, code enforcement and housing rehabilitation programs.

“We’ve lost a lot of funding, but we are still happy to be receiving it and we will be able to do some good work with it.”

The distribution proposal, which went before council for the first time March 26, allocates $146,935 to road projects. That’s in addition to the $98,212 left over from the CDBG funding of road projects last year. Still, the cost of the road repairs they are hoping to tackle is estimated at approximately $260,000.

“It’s just an estimate,” Connors said. “Once we go through the public hearing process, we will submit our application to HUD, and then we can send the road work out to bid.”

They plan to work on seven city streets — Lehner, Nagel, Clancy, Kathy, Grandmont, Academy and Ridgemont — between 11 Mile Road and Petrie.

“If there is money left over, which I doubt, then also Wildwood, between Ridgemont and Lehner,” Connors said, before adding that there are other city streets that need work, but not all of them are eligible for it under CDBG funds.

“This funding is for assisting low-mod areas only, but it’s a good way to offset the general fund so the general fund can do things like Groveland, which is not a CDBG- eligible area,” he said.

The city used general fund monies to redo the concrete on Groveland last year, but they weren’t able to address all repairs needed.

In the past few years, increased budget cuts have led to a sharp decrease in the ability to afford infrastructure repairs in municipalities throughout the region, leaving CDBG funds, where applicable, to pick up the burden.

“We’ve scaled back the funding to nonprofits so we can focus on infrastructure,” Connors said. “We’ve indicated that to our nonprofits and told them that we are anticipating further budget cuts, and we have to address the housekeeping we need to do here because the city doesn’t have the money to repair the roads.”

But in 2013, the nonprofits should see some funding. A total of $34,000 of Roseville’s CDBG funds were proposed for nonprofits, with $15,000 of the total going to the Hope Center in Fraser.

“The thing we like about Hope Center is they host 17 other nonprofit organizations at their site, so they are like a one-stop nonprofit shop,” Connors said. “You can go there and get housing counseling and a turkey from the food pantry.”

Connors works with the Citizens Advisory Committee, a City Council-appointed group of concerned citizens, on the proposed distribution list for CDBG funds.

The Hope Center requested $25,000, and with that money, they said they could help 1,800 Roseville residents through their food pantry and with housing counseling, humanitarian assistance and tax assistance.

Additional nonprofit funding was recommended in the amount of $9,000 to St. Vincent DePaul, $1,000 to the Roseville Public Library, $4,000 to the Macomb County Warming Center and $5,000 to Eastside Teen Outreach.

“Council and the CRC are really supportive of Eastside Teen Outreach — they’re your classic grassroots organization that saw a need and a gap in offering assistance to teens,” Connors said. “They provide weekly meetings and meals, assistance, community service and retreats to marginalized teens dealing with depression, neglect, bullying, etc.”

ETO co-founder Deena Trocino was pleasantly surprised when she received the news March 25 that their Eastpointe-based nonprofit had received recommendation for CDBG funding.

“We are so appreciative and really very grateful for this opportunity,” she said. “We feel very blessed that we were picked for this grant, and we look forward to continuing to serve the teens in Roseville and throughout all of south Macomb County.”

Connors and the CRC can only allocate funding to organizations that apply for it. The Senior Chore Program was not listed as a recipient for funding this year because they did not apply for it. Connors recommended that residents not be worried, though — they’ll still be receiving services.

“It was an oversight on their end, but they will be making it whole by still providing services to our residents,” Connors said. “We have been funding them for decades because they take care of our frail and elderly — they offer a staple public service.”

The Senior Chore Program is able to continue to serve Roseville residents through a reallocation of federal and state funds with the county.

Additional CDBG funding is recommended in the amount of $130,000 for Roseville’s housing rehabilitation program, $65,000 to code enforcement and rodent control and $93,983 to program administration.

Roseville City Council will hold its second public hearing and vote on CDBG disbursement at the regular council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. April 9. For more information, call (586) 445-5423.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sara Kandel at skandel@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1030.