Town Hall Encourages Discussion On Quality of Life
DESOTO—Recently the City of DeSoto held the first of two Town Hall Meetings in an effort to encourage residents to get involved in the conversation about the city’s housing and community development.
According to Assistant City Manager Lora Stallings, the meeting was held in reference to infrastructure needs being addressed in this year’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
“Information about the CDBG Program was given to meeting attendees,” Stallings said. “Attendees were asked if they had any suggestions about possible CDBG programs; no suggestions were made at that time.”
Stallings said citizens were also reminded of the opportunity to submit comments about the Annual Action Plan during the Citizen Commentary Period between July 14 and August 15, 2016.
“These comments will assist in the preparation of the 2016-2017 Annual Action Plan for the use of Community Development Block Grant funds from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Stallings added.
HUD Grant Participation
The grant amount for fiscal year 2016-2017 is $210,518. But this is not the first year the city has received this grant. In the past, DeSoto has used grant funds for projects in the city’s low- to moderate-income neighborhoods.
“Since fiscal year 2009, the City of DeSoto has received just under one-million dollars in federal HUD funds through the Community Development Block Grant Program,” said DeSoto Mayor Curtistene McCowan. “This Program has provided for a DeSoto and HUD partnership, to allow for infrastructure and code enforcement improvements in our community. We anticipate a grant of $210,518 for next year and I highly encourage our citizens to provide their input about how these funds can be used to benefit the DeSoto community next year.”
Due to the fact that last year DeSoto’s population exceeded 50,000–it has since been designated an Entitlement City.
“The Entitlement City designation changed the process for allocating the grant funding, and increased the annual grant amount for the DeSoto community, she explained. “The 2015/2016 grant of $229,684 is currently being used for the Williams/Gilbert Alley Reconstruction Project, the CDBG Code Enforcement Program, and administrative costs for monitoring and coordinating the program to ensure Federal compliance.”
The City of DeSoto has participated in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program since fiscal year 2008/2009.
“Each year, the City hosts a Town Hall Meeting to invite public comments and suggestions about how this grant funding should be used to best benefit the community,” Stallings concluded. “Public comments and suggestions are used to develop the Annual Action Plan, which allocates funding for HUD-eligible programs and projects.”
In 2008-2009, the City received $104,877 in CDBG funds. This grant was used for the Wintergreen Court and Gannon Lane Street Reconstruction Projects.
In 2009-2010, the City received $93,677 in grant funding, which was used for the Hubert Drive Street Reconstruction Project while 2010-2011 saw $104,416 used for the Northern Honor Drive and Stony Creek Drive Street Reconstruction Projects.
Additional projects over the years have included the Gilbert Drive Street Reconstruction Project, the Melody Lane Street Reconstruction Project, the Deborah Alley Reconstruction Project as well as the CDBG Code Enforcement Program.
In 1974, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) to enhance the quality of life and living conditions for low- to moderate-income households and neighborhoods. The parameters for receiving the grant include providing for ADA accessibility in a City facility; eliminating a community-threatening condition, which has occurred in the past 12 months and for which funding is not otherwise available; infrastructure enhancements and, funds must primarily benefit areas of the City with concentrations of at least 51% low- to moderate-income households or public services for low- to moderate-income residents.
The second public hearing will take place during the August 16, 2016 DeSoto Council Meeting. The City Council will consider approval of the 2016/2017 Annual Action Plan on August 16 and the approved Plan will be submitted for HUD consideration that same evening.