How do OC cities plan to spend their Federal Neighborhood Grant money?
Cities in Orange County are meeting tonight to determine how they will spend millions of tax dollars on neighborhood improvement programs with the funding they hope to receive from the federal government.
The funds, which are often on city council agendas as community development block grants, come from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, with cities across the country vying for a slice of the pie.
The purpose of the funds is “to improve low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, eliminate blight, and create a more stable economic base,” according to a report by City of Santa Ana staff, and while it n ‘t yet been announced how much money anyone will receive, cities are beginning to budget where they will send the funds based on how much they expect to get.
San Clemente, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Lake Forest are tackling the issue tonight, opening public forums for residents to share where they want to see the money go.
Santa Ana council members began their discussion on April 19, holding a public hearing to ask residents where they should spend a number of different funds from the grant program.
But federal community development grants were by far the biggest slice of the pie, with $5.6 million expected for the next fiscal year, along with another $2.1 million from other grant programs.
According to city staff reports, the largest community development grant expenditures are just under $1.9 million for road improvements in the Heninger Park neighborhood, as well as $800,000 dollars for the Santa Anita Park Improvement Project.
The city also plans to spend $531,000 on a new roof and windows for Newhope Library, with an additional $1 million split between improving sidewalks and improving transportation safety throughout the city. city.
There is also $408,000 set aside for the Police Athletic and Activities League restroom.
The city also outlined a plan to spend $845,000 on local nonprofits aimed at “crime prevention, intervention and/or enforcement for children, youth and families, economic development , assistance and tenant service programs, health services and services for the elderly”.
At their April meeting, several city council members called for increased funding for eight different community programs at the expense of money going to the city’s general fund, adding between $10,000 and $40,000 more. for programs such as the Public Law Center, Natis’ House Gang Prevention Program and others.
Click here to read Santa Ana’s spending proposals.
City of Costa Mesa staff expect to receive just over $1.1 million for next year from the program, as well as just over $500,000 from another grant program.
The largest expenditures are for Westside Street and Wilson Street improvements, with the two projects to receive $600,000 for road repairs.
An additional $100,000 is expected to be donated to various nonprofits across the city, including Mercy House Bridge Shelter, Project Hope Alliance and Families Forward.
Click here to read Costa Mesa’s spending proposals.
Lake Forest’s budget is split almost in the middle between the projected $513,000 from this year’s allocation and the $408,000 they have left over from last year.
According to the city staff report, the program is expected to spend $432,000 on affordable housing programs, an additional $260,000 on housing rehabilitation and just over $100,000 on administration of program funds, with a few small projects wrapped up in leftover funds from the city.
Click here to read Lake Forest’s spending proposals.
San Clemente expects to receive just under $330,000 in grants this year, and is budgeting that with an additional $133,000 they had left over from last year.
So far, the biggest project city staff have set aside is $260,000 for sidewalk improvements on Avenida Cabrillo, a project the city has also sent money to during of the last two years.
The city is also set to send $75,000 to its home-based rehab program, along with just under $50,000 split among six nonprofits that operate in the city.
Click here to read San Clemente’s spending proposals.
Irvine City Council members approved their grant program last week, with a combined total of just over $5 million in grants.
According to the staff report, the city is expected to spend $346,000 on its local nonprofits and invest in new improvements at Willows Park, Great Park, Fine Arts Center and Lakeview Senior Center.
They have also set aside $551,000 for the acquisition of affordable housing, in addition to $1.9 million set aside for the future affordable housing project.
Click here to read Irvine’s spending proposals.
Noah Biesiada is a member of Voice of OC Reporting. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @NBiesiada.
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