Clovis Offers Funding Plan for Neighborhood Improvement

The City of Clovis has decided not to obey the Fresno City Council “Shelter in Place” order.

Several community development projects receive block grant funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the 2021-22 Annual Plan of Action following the Clovis City Council meeting on July 20th.

The consolidated plan for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2021-25, a plan for the use of funds for the next five years, was also approved.

CDBG-eligible projects must be considered a service for people with low to middle income (LMI). Projects must also meet one of three national goals: benefit people with LMI, eliminate slum and rot, and meet urgent needs.

Last year, the CDBG funding went to seniors and households with urgent rental needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual action plan 2021-22

In the following year, Clovis will allocate $ 749,000 that will focus on residential home renovations, micro-business, area-based policing (law enforcement), management and alley rebuilding on Dennis and Mitchell Avenues and Dennis and Beverly Avenues.

“The goal is to really assess the needs of the entire community and then look for spots where those resources are not being met,” said Andy Haussler, director of community and economic development.

In processing and deciding which projects the city would prioritize, Clovis coordinated with the city council and departments, reviewed past performance and held discussions with stakeholders and citizens of the city.

“We interviewed nearly 50 different people who represent different organizations related to the needs of our community, as well as citizens and users of our programs,” said Haussler.

Those involved in the discussion also took part in a survey that identified the highest priorities for community development.

The community development list included 14 high, 10 medium and two low priorities.

The top five priorities were job creation / preservation, pavement improvements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), street / alley improvements, homeless services / shelter, and fire stations / equipment.

Job creation / preservation and street / alley improvements have been included in the budget allocation for the coming year, with $ 50,000 going to job creation at the Clovis Culinary Center and $ 290,000 going to alley improvements.

Enforcing the law and renovating residential buildings were also high on the list. As a result, the city will allocate nearly $ 137,000 for housing efforts and $ 112,000 for code enforcement.

Almost $ 150,000 will be used for the administrative portion of the grant. Haussler said the CDBG program is administrative intensive and federal regulations allow up to 20% of the funds to be used for administrative purposes.

“We traditionally come to around 12 to 14% [usage]“, Said Häussler. “But we allocate that in advance if we have the need and then put those savings back into the program.”

Haussler said if a project didn’t spend all of its funding, the money would be transferred and reassigned to other projects next year. He said the city is routinely finishing the administrative part of the budget.

While CDBG funding only targets six items, according to Haussler, Clovis funds many of the other items on the list in other ways, such as general funding allocations, housing programs, government funding, and more.

Five year plan

Over the next five years, goals set by the city include improving public facilities, maintaining affordable housing, creating jobs for low-income people, creating sustainable living environments, and managing the CDBG.

Clovis intends to use approximately $ 1.5 million in CDBG funds and focus on improving its water system, sewer system, road and drainage system, waste disposal facilities, neighborhood facilities, and parks and recreational facilities.

In addition, the city will use funds to remove architectural barriers for people with disabilities and improve public buildings to meet ADA requirements.

The city intends to use approximately $ 683,500 to provide LMI condominium refurbishment services related to housing construction.

Code enforcement will also increase in the LMI neighborhoods, with Clovis planning to allocate around $ 561,500 to this effort.

Approximately $ 250,000 in funds will be used for economic development. Projects considered are revitalization, business expansion and job creation.

Councilor Vong Mouanoutoua said this upcoming plan is better than what he has seen in previous years.

“This report was remarkably better than the first one I saw five years ago,” said Mouanoutoua. “I liked how detailed the contacting, reviewing, and contacting the respondents was. And I think that was excellent. “

Councilor Drew Bessinger agreed with Mouanoutoua how well the city is handling the CDBG program.

“We have a very measured response … to help good citizens who are struggling to get the deal out of some things,” said Bessinger.

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