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City Council To Vote On How $1.5 Million Should Be Spent

The Jamestown City Council will be voting on how it will spend $1.5 million in federal funding.

Today, the council is slated to vote on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2020 annual and five-year consolidated action plans for the federal funding it receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to the online council meeting that starts at 7:30 p.m., a virtual ZOOM public hearing on CDBG funding will be held at 6 p.m. People can join the public hearing by visiting us02web.zoom.us/j/81574647617 or by calling 646-558-8656, with meeting identification being 81574647617. The council meeting will be streamed online at www.jamestownny.gov/live.

The council was originally slated to vote on submitting the CDBG annual and five-year action plans for 2020 last month. However, Crystal Surdyk, city development director, told the council that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requested that city officials submit a new citizen participation plan. She said the last time the city submitted a citizen participation plan was 2014.

Surdyk said because of the HUD request, city officials needed to host a 30-day public comment period for the citizen participating plan. The public hearing on the CDBG plans Monday will be the third hosted by city officials, with ones also being held in December and September.

The city is scheduled to receive a total of $1,540,516 from HUD, with $1,198,049 in CDBG funding and $342,467 for the Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME). City officials plan to use $701,537 of the CDBG funding toward low- to moderate-income benefit activities. These activities include $150,000 for neighborhood target area infrastructure improvement program, $150,000 for public or privately owned commercial/industrial rehabilitation program and $144,935 for Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) public facility improvements. The CDBG annual plan also includes $57,517 for strategic code enforcement, $55,000 for lead poisoning prevention, $55,000 for environmental assessment and remediation and $49,085 for small business development and technical assistance.

City officials also plan to use $175,000 of the federal funding toward slums and blight activities, with $100,000 funding neighborhood target area demolitions and $75,000 for strategic anti-blight initiatives.

City officials are planning to us $256,850 of the HOME funding toward owner-occupied property rehabilitation, with $51,370 going toward a Community Housing Development Organization in the area to assist the agency with its programs.

Community officials in New York state use the CDBG and HOME funding to address a wide range of needs, which enables local governments to support affordable housing initiatives and expand economic development. The CDBG program provides municipalities in New York with critical funding for transformative and unique development projects and needed funding to leverage outside investment in job creation projects. The funds continue to play a critical role in facilitating local economic development in Upstate NY and helping local governments succeed.

HOME funding is the primary source of funding for state and local governments to buy and rehabilitate affordable housing. According to HUD, the HOME program provides grants to states and localities that communities use, often in partnership with local nonprofit groups or development companies. These communities and organizations then fund activities such as building, buying and rehabilitating affordable housing units for rent or homeownership. HOME is the largest federal block grant provided to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing.

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% of funding must be used for low-to-moderate-income benefit activities, and no more than 30% of funds can be used for slums and blighted areas.

In other business, the council will also host a presentation from the New York State Department of Transportation regarding Route 430 (Washington Street) and Route 394 (Fairmount Avenue) street mill and overlay project, and ADA improvements. Three project alternatives have been created, with the preferred option being to mill and resurface, with ADA improvements, Washington Street that will include a four-lane to three-lane “road diet” conversion from Fluvanna Avenue to West Second Street. This new lane configuration would result in the creation of a two-way left-turn lane along with new five-foot bike lanes with two-foot buffer areas along both sides of Washington Street.

The lane configuration for Fairmount Avenue will not change.

The project also includes replacing or modifying 11 traffic signals along both Washington Street and Fairmount Avenue, replacing all signage and will correct drainage deficiencies. The estimated cost of the project would be $4,209,000 and will be federally funded.

The estimated timeline for the project would be to obtain design approval in the spring, with the final design to be completed during the summer. The anticipated bid opening will be in the fall with the anticipated construction completed in the fall of 2022.

People can watch the presentation by visiting the city’s website — www.jamestownny.gov/live.

The council will also vote on a resolution to hire Passport Labs of Charlotte, N.C., for the purposes of providing parking enforcement services, advanced collection services and a mobile payment solution for the period of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023.

Earlier this month, Ryan Thompson, city comptroller, said city officials received three bids for the services. According to a city staff report, the city’s current contract with Passport Labs expired in July of last year. However, because of the pandemic, the request for proposals was delayed to the end of 2020 after a short-term contract with Passport was approved by the council in August. Passport Labs was selected because it was the most competitive bid due to no start-up costs, low monthly payments and mobile pay solution. The pricing structure will be the same as before.

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