Three projects proposed for 2019 CDBG funding

LOCK HAVEN — City Council will review three proposed projects to be funded through the 2019 Community Development Block Grant program before their Sept. 23 council meeting.

The city is receiving $298,504 in funding to potentially be used for the paving of East Water Street, placement of safe-fall surfaces under the swing sets at Piper Harmon Playground and Clinton County Housing Coalition’s kitchen renovation project.

The fall-safe project would cost approximately $33,235.28, the East Water Street paving project from Grant Street to the city line would cost about $211,538 and the city could put $5,000 towards the coalition’s renovations.

“The DCED Community and Economic Development encourages municipalities to limit their support to projects that exceed and they also make the recommendation to have fewer rather than more projects,” City Manager Gregory Wilson said. “In essence, a $2,000 project takes as much paperwork and time as $200,000 project because the documentation to support that project is the same.”

Wilson recommended council advertise for the East Water Street and Piper Harmon projects and consider putting money from the general fund towards the coalition’s project.

“Making the decision to move forward with basically these two (projects) using CDBG dollars, that does not preclude council from instead, if it wished to support that other project, taking the money from general fund-capital project revenue which would make the decision to curtail other capital projects and instead put money towards the project,” Wilson said.

Councilman Steve Stevenson expressed his concern about funding the coalition project with money from the general fund instead of CDBG funds.

“I know it’s a lot more paperwork but if we could consider funding the housing I would much rather see it come out of block grant money than I would out of the general fund which is hard to come by,” Stevenson said.

As for the increased amount of paperwork, Stevenson believes it would be worth it.

“I just don’t like to use general funds for something that can be funded by CDBG,” he continued.

Wilson said that the funds were estimated at $5,000 but the cost would be below that depending on the renovations that the coalition would make to their kitchen area.

“If we’re going to pay it one way or another to help chip in with the county I’d much rather have it come out of (CDBG),” Stevenson said.

Councilman Richard “Rick” Conklin disagreed with Stevenson’s point.

“If the request from the authority was for $5,000 I would rather not do that here where it would burden them with additional paperwork,” he said.

Councilman Douglas Byerly agreed with Conklin’s point.

Councilman William “Bill” Mincer and Councilman Richard Morris agreed with Stevenson’s point of view on the subject.

Stevenson pointed out that in the past, although an item has been listed for possible funding, it can be removed from the list after further discussion during the public hearing.

Conklin and Byerly agreed that the coalition’s request should be advertised and listed as one of the proposed projects with the understanding that it can be removed by council during the public hearing if just cause is given.

Mayor William E. Baney III was absent from Monday night’s council meeting.

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