CUMBERLAND — City officials seem pleased with staff recommendations on awards of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Community Development Block Grants. Lee Borror, the city’s community development specialist, presented the recommendations Tuesday during a meeting of the mayor and City Council at City Hall.
The grants are from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for fiscal year 2015. The grants are available for low and moderate income areas of a city.
The majority of projects that the city funds are health and human services related but some infrastructure projects receive funding. When the city receives the applications from the organizations, they are rated and ranked based on eligibility, ability to address an identified goal, agency capacity and experience, project complexity and matching funds.
Among the awards being recommended are the Neighborhood Matters program at $160,000, a boiler replacement project at the Gilchrist YMCA for $28,200 and the Cumberland Neighborhood Housing Service closing costs grant program at $30,000.
The closing costs grant helps first-time homebuyers with the expenses connected to buying a home. Those eligible can get $1,000 toward their closing costs.
The Gilchrist Center offers many housing and transitional programs and the Neighborhood Matters program helps fight blight and look at infrastructure needs.
Friends Aware is set to receive $60,000 to be able to accept applicants for services still on the organization’s waiting list.
About $181,820 will be used to improve city sidewalks. Some of those improvements will take place near the Amtrak station on East Harrison Street.
The public service portion of the grants are limited to 15 percent of the total, Borror said, or a total of $111,580. Eleven grants are proposed for award in that category, the largest, $24,000, being to the Human Resources and Development Commission for emergency assistance. Jane’s Place Inc. would receive $19,480. The mission of Jane’s Place is to help children who have been abused or neglected.
Written comments on the grant award proposals can be sent by mail or email to Borror at City Hall or firstname.lastname@example.org. Borror said only a few requests were rejected. Comments will be accepted through April 22.
A long effort to bring curbside recycling to city residents also came to fruition during the meeting, when officials approved a new sanitation contract. The city's new trash hauler has agreed to provide weekly recycling pickup. Mayor Brian Grim has said it was a goal of his adminstration based on requests from citizens. The contract with Burgmeier’s Hauling, Inc. will pay the company not more than $145,000 each of the next three years for the recycling service. The contract begins July 1.
City officials also accepted a bid with an estimated price tag of $177,054 for work at the wastewater treatment plant. Walter N. Yoder & Sons will perform digester and gas line repairs at the plant.
Council also adopted the reappointment of Michael Scott Cohen as city solicitor for a four-year term beginning May 16.
Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at email@example.com.