PIQUA — The city of Piqua held their first public hearing in regard to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and the approximate total of $2.6 million of CDBG funding available for the city to apply for.
Development Program Manager Nikki Reese started by providing background information, explaining that CDBG funding is administered at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the CDBG program is administered by the state of Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA), Office of Community Development (OCD).
The city of Piqua is also considered a “direct city,” or a city with a population of at least 15,000 people and a low-to-moderate income (LMI) population of at least 30 percent or greater. Previously, direct cities received a yearly allocation of CDBG funding of at least $75,000. Reese explained that the state has now decided to provide direct cities with an allocation every two years, providing $150,000 in funds.
“We will receive $150,000 this year,” Reese said. The next time that Piqua will receive that allocation funding will be in 2019.
For the rest of the available CDBG funding, the city has to submit applications. The programs available to apply for funding include the Neighborhood Revitalization Program ($300,000), Downtown Revitalization Program ($300,000), Critical Infrastructure Program ($300,000), Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program or CHIP (to be determined), Economic Development Program ($500,000), New Horizons Fair Housing Program ($30,000), and Discretionary Grant Program ($500,000).
The focus this year is CHIP funding. If the city applies for it alone, it can receive up to $350,000 in funding. The city does have the option to partner with the Miami County Commissioners, the city of Troy, and the city of Tipp City for a total allocation of $1.6 million to share among those four partners. Reese explained that the partnership has not decided if they will apply for the full amount of $1.6 million due to new deadlines from the ODSA.
“The state has now put time constraints on completing projects,” Reese said.
If they are not able to make those deadlines, they may be penalized. There is also a lack of qualified CHIP contractors available to complete the work.
“Ultimately, we don’t want to get penalized,” Reese said, explaining that the partnership may decide to apply for a total of $850,000 instead of the full $1.6 million.
Beneficiaries of the CHIP program would be LMI households. Examples of total gross income levels for LMI households include $33,350 for a one-person household; $38,1000 for two; $47,600 for four; and $55,250 for six. Options include using funds for a home repair of an owner-occupied residence funding by a grant of up to $10,500; for a private owner rehabilitation program using deferred payment of declining balance loans of up to $42,500; a rental home repair with a grant plus a match from the landlord; or a rental home rehabilitation using a low-interest loan, a grant, and a match from the landlord.
The goal of CDBG funding is to either benefit LMI households or neighborhoods, or to address areas or spots of blight and slum in the city.
“Those are the two big ones. They have to meet one or the other,” Reese said.
Neighborhoods that qualify to receive funding have to be at least 51 percent LMI. Within Piqua, that includes the Shawnee neighborhood (69 percent), the Southview neighborhood (58 percent), and a block group (52 percent). That block group is the residents in the area between Vine Street, Washington Avenue, State Route 185, and Nicklin Avenue.
The city received CDBG funding in 2015 for the automated metering replacement program in the Southview neighborhood that will expand to the entire city, and in 2016 for stormwater improvements in the Shawnee neighborhood.
The city also applied for Downtown Revitalization Program funding in 2016, but was unsuccessful in obtaining it.
This was the first of two public hearings in regard to CDBG funding. The city will hold another public hearing at a later date to discuss which programs they will apply for this year. The applications are due in June, and the city will be notified of what they receive in September.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336