PARKERSBURG — Seed money for a housing initiative, additional funds for a streetscape enhancement, payment on a new fire station and fitness equipment at Quincy Park are among the items in the proposed 2018-19 CDBG and HOME budgets.
Parkersburg City Council’s Finance Committee forwarded the budget resolution to the full council Monday and also amended funding for an emergency repair request from the Family Crisis Intervention Center.
Development Director Rickie Yeager noted the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last year increased funding for the entitlement programs nationwide. For Parkersburg, that translated to a 12 percent hike in Community Development Block Grant funds, which are intended to benefit low- to moderate-income people.
The city also administers the Parkersburg-Wood County HOME Consortium housing program on behalf of the county and its municipalities. That budget increased 43 percent to $347,641, with an additional $220,000 in program income from loan payoffs, primarily through the first-time homebuyers program, Yeager said.
CDBG funds were included for the Minor Home Repair Program ($175,750), Emergency Home Repair Program ($60,000) and continued repayment of the Section 108 loan for the 2008 Point Park project ($70,030).
Some city employees’ salaries are paid with CDBG funds, including a police officer through the Community Oriented Police Enforcement program and a code enforcement officer assigned to patrol areas that meet the program’s income requirements. A portion of salaries, supplies and contractual services for the Development Department is covered by $164,414 in CDBG funds.
The city previously allocated $150,000 for improvements along St. Marys and Dudley avenues. This budget adds $130,000 to it, and Yeager said the city plans to apply for a grant for additional funding.
“It’s millions of dollars to redo a corridor from 13th Street to Emerson Avenue,” Yeager said.
New additions include $22,500 to start repayment of a loan the city hopes to get approved for the first of three new fire stations and $50,000 toward a fitness park at Quincy Park. The city is also targeting a grant to help purchase that equipment, aimed at kids age 5-12, with some components for teens and adults.
The biggest line item in the HOME budget is $430,546 which Yeager said could be used as incentives or assistance for new construction and rehabilitation projects in targeted neighborhoods.
Council members have been discussing for months a more proactive approach for the Urban Renewal Authority, and these funds could help with that, Yeager said.
It could also provide money for projects like the senior housing complex on Rayon Drive.
“Wherever that money would be spent would be brought before Finance” for approval, Councilman Mike Reynolds said.
“The end project has to be the construction or rehab of affordable housing,” Yeager said.
After sending the CDBG budget to council with a 5-0 vote, the committee turned its attention toward an emergency CDBG funding request from the Family Crisis Intervention Center to address leaks at its domestic violence shelter. The initial request and recommendation from the Development Department had been for $50,000, which some council members questioned at their May 22 meeting since a quote the center received for the work was for $30,000.
Yeager said then that the additional funds were sought because it was unclear how much CDBG requirements, including prevailing wage, would increase the cost. On Monday, he brought the committee a revised quote of $33,000 for the work.
The committee voted 4-1 to forward a resolution to provide $35,000 for the project to council. Councilman Jeff Fox voted against it after his amendment to reduce the amount to $17,500 died for lack of a second. Councilman J.R. Carpenter, who is not a member of the committee, had also suggested providing a lower amount to help with the project but not fund the full amount.