Approval of Rockville's application to Montgomery County for $211,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding for Year 39 (FY14)
Approve the funding allocations and authorize the City Manager to transmit the grant application and sign an agreement with Montgomery County for Program Year 39 of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
In response to federal cuts to the CDBG program over the past two years, on August 6, 2012, the Mayor and Council decided to target CDBG funds to housing activities for the FY 2014 (Program Year 39) grant year in order to address basic needs more directly. Mayor and Council also established a minimum grant amount of $15,000 for outside agencies to eliminate administrative inefficiencies of awarding small grants and suspended funding for public service grants. Outside agencies may still apply for CDBG funding for housing programs with a minimum request of $15,000. Finally, the Mayor and Council decided to continue to shift CDBG staffing costs to the General Fund in order to increase funds for home improvements. As a result, the CDBG application process was revised, and staff recommendations are directed toward housing services.
The City’s overall CDBG grant amount has been reduced by 35% over the last five grant years – from $325,348 in Year 34 to $211,312 in Year 38 - due to federal budget cuts and changes in how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocates funds. The County staff estimates the total FY 2014/Year 39 grant amount will be similar to Year 38.
The staff recommends allocating grant funds for three programs:
- Interfaith Works - $26,790
Rehabilitation of three permanent supportive housing units for formerly homeless families
- Rockville Housing Enterprises - $33,210
Rehabilitation of at least two scattered site public housing units
- City of Rockville Single-Family Rehabilitation Program - $151,312
Rehabilitation of at least six homes for low-income homeowners
TOTAL YEAR 39 - $211,312
Competitive Application Process
The City received applications from four outside agencies (See Attachment A) for a total of $144,040 in requested funding. A maximum of $60,000 was available to grant to outside agencies. Of the four applications, the review committee recommended funding two of the proposals (as noted above and summarized in Attachment B).
Like last year, a cross-departmental committee was created to review the applications and make a recommendation to the Mayor and Council. The committee is staffed with representatives from departments familiar with community needs and other City grants (Finance, Neighborhood Resources, Community Services and Community Planning and Development Services). The applications were evaluated based on whether the project would benefit low- and moderate-income households; the need for the activity; whether the proposed solution, scope of work, and budget were reasonable and achievable; whether the applicant had secured other funding for the project; the applicant’s organizational capacity and past experience; and the overall quality of the application.
Single-Family Rehabilitation Program
The staff recommends that $151,312 of the Year 39 CDBG grant be dedicated to the City’s Single-Family Rehabilitation Program. The program currently has 25 low-income households on the waiting list for assistance, some with serious housing repair needs such as leaky roofs.
In line with Mayor and Council’s August 6 decision to continue shifting CDBG staffing costs to the General Fund, staff recommend that the $151,312 be fully allocated to direct rehabilitation costs and no CDBG funds be allocated for the Rehabilitation Specialist’s salary and benefits. This position administers the City's Single-Family Rehabilitation Program which helps an average of eight homeowners per year with emergency repairs, lead-based paint abatement, handicap accessibility or other needed improvements. In FY 2013, 40% of this salary is being paid with CDBG funds and 60% from the General Fund as part of the Community Planning and Development Services budget. Staff recommends shifting the remaining 0.4 FTE of the Rehabilitation Specialist’s salary to the General Fund in FY 2014 to preserve CDBG funds for direct benefits to these homeowners. Mayor and Council must consider and approve this shift as part of the FY 2014 budget process.
Mayor and Council History
This is the first time this item has been brought before the Mayor and Council; however, a public hearing was conducted on September 24, 2012 in order to obtain public input on community needs. The change in approach and CDBG schedule was also discussed on August 6, 2012.
Public Notification and Engagement
On August 30, 2012, letters were e-mailed or mailed to organizations of interest and a notification was posted on the City's website notifying them of the upcoming application period. In addition, the application was posted online along with the public hearing notice and a schedule for the CDBG application process. Ads were published in the newspaper on September 5 and September 12, 2012. The public record was left open until October 3, 2012 at 5 pm and no additional testimony was received beyond the two speakers at the public hearing.
Shifting the remaining 0.4 FTE of the Single-Family Rehabilitation Specialist's position to the General Fund from CDBG funds will cost between $35,000 and $37,000 (total for salary and benefits) starting in FY 2014. If Mayor and Council support this transition, this item will be considered as part of the FY 2014 budget process. Although General Fund FTE's would be increased by 0.4 FTE, the total number of FTEs would not increase.
The City has not received the FY 2014/Year 39 CDBG grant amount from Montgomery County. The County staff estimates the total FY 2014/Year 39 grant amount will be similar to Year 38 ($211,312). The Year 39 CDBG grant amount will be appropriated as part of the FY 2014 budget process.
The Year 39 application is due to Montgomery County by December 1, 2012.
Attach A_CDBG Applicants Year 39.pdf
Attach B_CDBG Program Summaries Year 39.pdf
Susan Swift, Director of Community Planning and Development Services
Approved on: 10/31/2012
Barbara B. Matthews, City Manager
Approved on: 11/01/2012