Westminster city officials said they need input from Westminster residents regarding how to use a more than $500,000 in federal Community Development Block grants due to the city.
City staff told …
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Westminster city officials said they need input from residents regarding how to use more than $500,000 in federal Community Development Block grants due to the city.
City staff told the Westminster City Council at its June 20 study session that there is already a consolidated plan for how to use the grant money but it is not set in stone. Staff said they have begun the 30-day community review and input process for the 2022 annual action plan.
“It is a draft plan," said Housing Coordinator Molly Tayer. "If we learn more as we go through the coming 30 days, yes, there is wiggle room (to adjust it).”
Currently, the plan has two primary goals — preserving and expanding affordable housing, and improving infrastructure and streets improvements.
According to Tayer, the Community Development Block Grant program awards funding to local governments to find local solutions that address housing and expand economic opportunities for low to moderate-income persons.
Cities across the country receive funds based on the U.S. Census and poverty measures. To be used, the money must meet one of three objectives laid out by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It must benefit low and moderate-income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight and/or meet a need having a particular urgency.
An area is considered low or moderate-income when 51% or more people living within the area earn less than 80% of the median income.
Westminster received $585,031 in funds for the 2022 program year. Council hopes to hear from the community about how to spend it.
“We want to use this money to work with our community, not do things to our community,” Tayer said.
Mayor Pro-Tem David DeMott brought some ideas to the meeting, which included helping residents with city suggestions, such as replacing a lawn with a xeriscaping.
Another was to assist residents with auto repairs, such as a stolen catalytic converter. He said that came from a discussion at the beginning of the meeting regarding crime, when City Councilor Obi Ezeadi said low-income people are more affected by those thefts than higher income individuals.
Ezeadi agreed with DeMott’s suggestions.
“Utlimately if the goal of the funds is to impact low-income residents, that’s something with a multiplier because that would allow them to get to their jobs,” DeMott said. “I would be curious about how we can be creative with that.”
A community meeting was held June 22 to hear ideas, and a public hearing paired with a council vote is scheduled for July 25.
“I just want the community to hear that their voice will be heard, instead of ‘here’s the plan, and we can only talk about this,'” said Mayor Nancy McNally.
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