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Public hearing will be held to receive input on CDBG grant projects

By Myrna Trauntvein
Times-News Correspondent

On Tuesday, December 4, at 7 p.m., Nephi will hold a public hearing to take input on what sort of activities the city might seek to use a Community Development Block Grant (CDGB) for in order to assist low-income families.
"We have attended the mandatory pre-meeting, as required in order to apply for a CDGB," said Randy McKnight, city administrator. "We are now required to hold a public hearing."
"Any community interested in receiving funding, must attend a workshop in their region for their application to be considered," said McKnight.
After the community had commented on the topic, he said, the city council would need to decide whether to apply for the money or not.
"There is a requirement that the public hearing be advertised at least seven days in advance of the meeting but not more than 14 days in advance," he said.
The council would need to also determine what sort of project they would favor seeking money for after the public hearing was held.
"We wouldn't settle on a project until we hold the public hearing," said McKnight.
The State of Utah Community Development Block Grant program provides grants to cities and towns of fewer than 50,000 in population and counties of fewer than 200,000 people.
The entitlement cities of Clearfield, Layton, Logan, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Salt Lake City, Sandy, St. George, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley City, and the county of Salt Lake have similar programs designated for their areas and are not eligible for the State Small Cities CDBG program.
"There are some areas where the residents all meet the criteria and a project will benefit all of the residents," he said. "Sometimes, in the past, our community met that criteria."
In the past few applications, however, only some of the community could benefit for a project and, therefore, the city council in those instances had determined to use the money for housing rehabilitation for low income families.
"Depending on the income level of the community, there are projects that could qualify as benefiting the entire community," said McKnight. "In the past, for example, we used the funding for economic development and for the purchase of the property for the sewer lagoons site now in use."
However, income levels and rules changes now make it difficult for a project of that scope to take place in Nephi.
"We have not been able to do those types of projects for a number of years now," said McKnight.
The purpose of the Small Cities program is "to assist in developing viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate incomes."
The 2012 program year is the 31st in which the Small Cities CDBG program has been administered by the State of Utah.
The Utah program is unique compared to other states which utilize a more centralized funds-distribution process. In Utah, the program is based on public input through local governments which establish priorities for local projects consistent with state and federal guidelines.
The "How-To-Apply" workshops which detailed the application requirements for 2012 funding were conducted in the months of October and November throughout the seven regions in the state.
"Last year, as part of the State of Utah's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Nephi City took applications from low to moderate income residents for minor housing rehabilitation projects during May," said McKnight.
The focus of rehabilitations was weatherization and energy efficiency improvements, but other improvements for safety, disabled access, sustainability, health, and welfare reasons were also considered.
Acceptable rehabilitation projects included, but were not limited to, roof, foundation, electrical, heating, and insulation.
The target maximum for each applicant family's projects was $10,000 over a 5-year period.
Applicants must own and live in the home that is to be repaired. Proof of income status has to be demonstrated through documentation.
"Until after public input is received at the public hearing, we will not know what type of project should be considered," said McKnight.