Public Input Wanted On How To Spend $1 Million In The City

The first of two public hearings on how to spend more than $1 million in federal funding will be held today.

The public hearings will focus on the 2018 Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships programs. The first hearing will be held during the city Planning Commission meeting starting at 4:15 p.m. in the mayor’s conference room on the fourth floor of the city Municipal Building, located at 200 E. Third St. The second hearing is schedule for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Jamestown City Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building.

The purpose of the public hearings is to assist the city’s Development Department in better understanding the housing, neighborhood and economic development needs that might be addressed through the city’s CDBG and HOME allocations for 2018. City officials use the information from the public hearing to create an action plan on how to use the federal funding. In 2016, the city received a total of $1,286,443 — $1,056,212 in CDBG funding and $230,231 for HOME — from the two programs.

Last month during a Jamestown Urban Rural Agency meeting, Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said city officials are expecting to receive about a 10 percent increase in funding this year for both programs. He said the federal funding for the city had been declining each year since the start of the Great Recession.

Last year at this time, city officials were concerned that the CDBG and HOME programs might be eliminated. Last year, President Donald Trump’s “blueprint” budget proposed completely cut all federal funding for the CDBG and HOME programs. In last year’s proposed federal budget, there was a $6 billion cut for U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, which would go from $46.9 billion to $40.7 billion. The proposed HUD budget has a $3 billion cut that would provide no funding to states for the CDBG and HOME programs.

In February, Trump announced his proposal for the fiscal year 2019 budget, which would allot for a slight bump in funding for HUD. The budget requests $41.24 billion for 2019, an increase of 1 percent.

Under the new proposal, the administration focuses on several key initiatives, including ending homelessness. The budget requests a record $2.4 billion to support thousands of local housing and service programs assisting those living in the nation’s sheltering system and on the streets.

HUD officials have three purposes for the use of CDBG funding. First is to prevent or eliminate slums or blight, second is to benefit low-to-moderate-income residents and third is to meet a particular urgent need for the municipality. The CDBG program stipulates that at least 70 percent of funding must be used for low-to-moderate-income benefit activities, and no more than 30 percent of funds can be used for slums and blighted areas.

Those who are unable to attend these hearings are invited to submit their comments, in writing, to the Department of Development, Third Floor, Municipal Building, 200 E. Third St., Jamestown, New York, 14701, no later than May 4. The Jamestown City Council and the subsequent submission of the City’s CDBG and HOME FY 2018 Annual Action Plan application to HUD will consider all comments received prior to the formal authorization of the application.