Seniors said thankful for CDBG/HOME programs

DOWNEY - To receive both Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership funds from the federal government, one of the requirements is for the city to hold two public hearings to receive public input to help determine the funds' most effective allocation benefiting especially the community's low and moderate-income residents.The city has historically allocated a larger share of both grants for housing rehabilitation, code enforcement and public service activities. On occasion, the grants have been used to finance capital improvement projects. Such was the case when some of the funds were used to partially fund the new Discovery Sports Complex; the renovation of the Barbara J. Riley Community Center was another. However they are used, each grant has its own defined use parameters and administrative conditions. Observance of these requirements and caveats is vitally important. The resulting Action Plan that outlines the city's proposed funds distribution program becomes its application to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) which dispenses the funds. Tuesday the Council opened its first public hearing. For one reason or another, not too many people spoke. One who did, though, was the executive director of the Rio Hondo Temporary Home, David Littlehale, who expressed appreciation for the city's support through the years of its operations using CDBG/HOME funds. Another appreciative speaker was Arc's executive director, Kevin MacDonald, whose developmentally disabled constituents can look forward, he said, to brighter futures due in no small measure to the funds. In this regard, housing manager Ed Velasco, who made the PowerPoint presentation, said most appreciative e-mails detailing how their homes and thus their lives have been enhanced by the use of the funds have come from senior citizens. The amounts available to the city next fiscal year are $1,484,754 in CDBG funds, and $712,852 in HOME funds. The second hearing is scheduled for the City Council meeting of May 12. In other action, the Council: •Approved $2,254,355.82 in carry-forward appropriations for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008; these cover items approved in the 2007-08 budget, and were either ordered, contracted for, or in progress before the end of the fiscal year, but were not received or paid for until the current fiscal year; •Approved the agreement with Gateway Cities Council of Governments involving Phase 2 of the truck-impacted intersection project, and appropriated $210,000 from the Gas Tax Fund for the purpose; •Authorized the donation of surplus Motorola 520 Mobile Data Computers to other fire departments, such as those of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue, BC, Canada, which have requested said units for their pilot programs to establish viability for mobile data use in their apparatus; •Approved the expenditure of $75,000 for the construction of masonry block walls (to promote orderly traffic flow, and enhance pedestrian and traffic safety, while beautifying the subject Lakewood Blvd. corridor) at the Sun Trailer Park property located at 12532 Lakewood Blvd.; •Adopted a resolution appointing specific representatives to the Independent Cities Risk Management Authority; Mayor Mario Guerra is to serve as primary representative on its governing board, with John Michicoff reappointed as primary alternate; •Adopted a resolution reappointing Diane Boggs to the City Hospital Commission for Council District 5; •Adopted a resolution ordering the city engineer to prepare and file a report evaluating the assessment rates for the various zones within the Lighting and Landscaping Assessment District No. 121 for FY2009-10 (for the purpose of maintaining landscaping and public lighting facilities within the city); •Introduced an ordinance approving the city's membership in the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) and approving the execution of the Joint Powers Agreement (the countywide communications system will address public safety operations, especially in times of emergency); •Appointed a Council Subcommittee composed of council members Dave Gafin and Luis Marquez to have a thorough review of the food and beverage operation at Rio Hondo Event Center; this year marks the midpoint of the city's 10-year contract with the current licensee, Shelton Food and Beverage, Inc.; •Also appointed Councilman Marquez as alternate director to Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts Nos. 2 and 18; •Presented Downey's Girl Scout Troop 248 (represented by girl scouts from St. Mark's School, Griffiths and East Middle Schools) with a certificate of appreciation, and the Silver Award, for their volunteer services with the Keep Downey Beautiful program; •Proclaimed the month of February as American Heart Month, in recognition of, in the words of Mayor Mario Guerra's proclamation, "the importance of the ongoing fight against heart disease," identifying cardiovascular disease as the nation's leading cause of death, with direct and indirect costs estimated to be $475.3 billion in 2009; •Heard Police Chief Roy Campos formally confer promotions on Sgt. Daniel J. Shapiro (19 years of service with Downey Police) and Senior Forensic Specialist Ted Hiler (10 years of service); •And heard Councilman Roger Brossmer present a certificate of appointment/reappointment to Roy Beard, to the Emergency Preparedness Committee, District 3; similarly heard Mayor Pro Tem Anne Bayer, designating Dwight and Julie Simpson, to the City Hospital Commission, District 4; and likewise heard Councilman Luis Marquez present the document reappointing Andy Doyle, to the Emergency Preparedness Committee, for District 5. The meeting was adjourned to tomorrow, 9 a.m., at the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center, John Downey Room, located at 7810 Quill Drive, for the first of two special City Council sessions. The purpose of the sessions is to accommodate/address a) departmental presentations and Council discussion/direction of departmental priorities, and b) Council discussion/direction of city goals and integration of goals with departmental priorities, for the upcoming fiscal year. Provision has been made for a non-agenda public comment portion at the special session. The second session is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28. This is without prejudice to the next regular public meeting of the Council scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at City Hall, 11111 Brookshire Ave. ********** Published: February 13, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 43