Jessica Cejnar / Thursday, March 26 @ 1:18 p.m. / Community, Local Government, Tribes

County Pursues $80,250 in CDBG Dollars; Hunter Valley Residents Plan Nonprofit In Lieu of Yurok Control of Park

Del Norte County will pursue $80,250 in Community Development Block Grant dollars, most of which will go toward an economic study focusing on agricultural tourism.

Following a public hearing on Tuesday, county supervisors unanimously approved a resolution authorizing staff to apply for those grant dollars.

Speaking before the Board via Zoom due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, Administrative Analyst Toni Self said the county is seeking $75,000 to hire a consultant to create an economic planning and feasibility study. The goal is to develop avenues for the county to support businesses engaged in agricultural tourism, she told supervisors.

Grant dollars are expected to be spent within three years of an agreement being signed between the county and the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Self said. The Department of Housing and Community Development will reimburse the county any costs associated with grant activity, she said.

According to the county’s staff report, $5,250 in CDBG dollars will be used for general admission.

The CDBG is a federally-funded program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Funds are administered via the state Department of Housing and Community Development. In January, the state department announced that roughly $60 million in 2019-2020 CDBG dollars were available.
During her presentation, Self outlined changes to the 2019-2020 CDBG program.

These changes include an “over-the-counter” application process for construction projects. This shortens the time frame between when a jurisdiction applies for a grant and when those dollars are awarded, according to Self. It also means applications are reviewed and grants awarded on a first-come first-served basis, according to the county’s staff report.

Another change is a new management system allowing applicants to apply for CDBG dollars online, according to the county’s staff report. Applicants can also track the status of their application online.

“It’s easier to navigate and does not require applicants to submit hard copies,” Self said. “Our last application was over 600 pages.”

The third change is the 50 percent expenditure rule, which states that half the funds for a public service grant must be spent before the recipient applies for another grant, Self said. However, the county did not spend its previous public service grant awarded in 2018, it’ snot eligible to apply for those dollars for 2019-2020, she said.

The county’s decision to pursue CDBG dollars comes after Crescent City approved proposals from the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, which is seeking $140,040 to provide emergency assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking.
Crescent City also approved a request for $500,000 in CDBG funds from the Community Food Council for its Pacific Pantry.

The city is also seeking an over-the-counter grant to add F Street to a $4.2 million project to increase storm drain capacity on Front Street between B and G streets and on C Street. According to City Manager Eric Wier, extending the storm drain project to include F Street would cost an additional $1.2 million to $1.3 million.

In other matters at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, District 5 representative Bob Berkowitz said he and District 1 Supervisor Roger Gitlin met with representatives of the Hunter Valley Community Services District in Klamath.

This meeting comes after a handful of Hunter Creek residents opposed a proposed transfer of Hunter Creek Park to the Yurok Tribe, which planned to install a playground. Berkowitz said Hunter Valley CSD representatives would rather set up their own nonprofit organization.

“The consensus was they would rather set up a 501 c3 so they could control the playground,” Berkowitz said. “They asked that action be postponed until they could form a nonprofit entity and present a plan before the Board.”


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