Public participation encouraged

City seeks input on how to spend grant money

By Ilyssa Daly
Posted 6/12/19

City of Newburgh residents: it is time for your voices to be heard.

The City annually gets money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to use for housing and community …

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Public participation encouraged

City seeks input on how to spend grant money

Posted

City of Newburgh residents: it is time for your voices to be heard.

The City annually gets money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to use for housing and community development based off of the census. Every five years, the City of Newburgh’s Department of Planning and Development creates a new plan regarding what to do with these funds, and they then present the plan, along with the proposed budget, to the public.

Alexandra Church, the city planner and the Director of the Department of Planning and Development, spoke at Newburgh City Council’s Work Session on June 6. During her presentation, she talked about scheduling a public hearing to get feedback on the City of Newburgh’s proposed actions concerning the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) for the 2020-2024 Five year Consolidated Plan and Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Action Plan. The first public hearing to discuss this plan is on July 8, 2019, less than a month away.

The City of Newburgh’s CDBG proposal, which is available for public consumption, can only allocate funds for “activities that benefit low- and moderate-income people, the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, [and for] community development activities to address an urgent threat to health or safety.” But, it is up to City of Newburgh residents to comment on where they think this money needs to go.

The Department of Planning and Development held a series of public meetings in the City of Newburgh during May, to discuss what residents believed that the city needed the most. After holding these meetings, the CDBG proposal was subsequently created, along with its estimated budget.

The CDBG estimates that the City of Newburgh will receive around $845,000 from an Entitlement Grant, which allows funding for multiple community projects. During her presentation, Church spoke about the need for “soliciting more input from the community.”

Church listed some of the City’s needs that were brought up during the community meetings.

Some of these include: better sidewalks, improvements to parks, more street paving, job training, better road safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists, cleaner neighborhoods, affordable housing, and things for the youth to do.

Programs such as the ‘In Rem Property Project’ are proposed to be given $225,000 in funding, which is 24% of the budget. This program “provides maintenance and security of vacant properties [and] keeps properties habitable, neighborhoods looking good, maintains/increases property values.”

Other programs are not given as much funding. A new project to be introduced in the upcoming proposal is called the Homeowners Assistance Program. (It is not part of the current plan.) It partners “with organizations with Habitat and the Land Bank [and] it will be managed by a third party,” said Church. The proposal estimates that $50,000 of funding will be used “to support a low-income homeowner resource assistance program.” It additionally “includes repairs as well as other assistance such as financial/budget counseling.” This program, however, accounts for only seven percent of the CDBG’s estimated budget.

These allocations are not set in stone, as it is important that City of Newburgh residents go to the Public Hearing on July 8 to voice any and all concerns over the proposal.

The Mid Hudson Times is conducting a survey in order to gauge how the City of Newburgh’s residents truly feel about the CDBG’s current proposed plan and what they believe to be what the city needs most. Click here to complete the survey.

For more information regarding the CDBG’s proposal visit the City of Newburgh’s official website at cityofnewburgh-ny.gov/city-council. The proposal can be found under the Agenda for the City Council’s Work Session that took place on June 6.

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