Council approves 2012-2013 grant funding
COMPTON—The long delayed 2012-2013 general plan finally received approval during the Tuesday, May 8, meeting as Council members modified and approved grant funding for groups assisting residents with services in the Hub City.
The programs will receive money through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grant program, Emergency Solutions Grant and the Home Program.
HUD mandates that all entitlement communities submit an Annual Action Plan that outlines how the community spends its allocations to address the priority needs.
“The city will receive $2.2 million during the upcoming fiscal year,” Grants Manager Renea Ferrell said.
Resident Lynn Boone wanted to know why so much money was being given to the city’s graffiti removal program.
“We can use JAG (Justice Assistance Grant) money to remove graffiti,” she said. “The $37,000 allocated for the program could fund other groups.”
Boone accused a Federal Grant Advisory Board member of attacking the Angels for Sight organization during a Council meeting last month.
“Now they are first on the list,” she said. “I think the city manager should look into this.”
Interim City Manager Bryan Batiste said he looked into the Angels for Sight situation after the first public hearing.
“I visited the facility and met some of the doctor’s providing volunteer service to kids needing glasses in the community,” he said. “This is a great program that should not be dissolved, so we allocated JAG money for graffiti removal, and reduced the CDBG money allocated for that program so the city could give money to Angels for Sight.”
The city spends more than $200,000 per year on graffiti removal.
“Public Works employees paint over graffiti every day of the week, including weekends,” Batiste said. “Sometimes when they paint a location it is retagged an hour later even though the paint is still wet.”
El Nido Family Centers Director Saul Figueroa said the grant process changed this year, and it took the group by surprise.
“We had no idea that the federal grants advisory board did not award any money to our group,” he said. “There was more transparency about how the process worked in previous years. I did not hear about it this year.”
Ferrell said El Nido did not have any problems with their application, and one obstacle facing the city for the upcoming year is a reduction in CDBG funding.
“This year the city received approximately $290,258 less,” she said. “All the agencies seeking funding were wonderful this year, but the federal grants agency could not fund everyone, and the ones funded received less.”
Angels for Sight and the Children’s Clinic in Long Beach received the same funding as last year, while Dickison Community Lighted School received less. Champions of Caring and Legal Aid received slight increases.
Graffiti removal is a newly funded program.
Councilwoman Yvonne Arceneaux asked the Council to reallocate money to the El Nido program.
“If JAG money can be used for graffiti removal maybe we can take $30,000 and use it for El Nido,” she said.
Ferrell said she plans on bringing a scope of work proposal to City Council that diverts $200,000 worth of JAG money for graffiti removal.
“The Council will get to vote on the change before the start of the 2012- 2013 fiscal year,” she said.
The Council agreed and gave money to the El Nido program.
Councilwoman Janna Zurita recused herself from the hearing and vote because of her involvement with Dickison Lighted School’s Meals on Wheels program.
The next City Council meeting is on Tuesday, May 22.