Citizens District Council Minutes 06-02-2009

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Citizen’s District Council Meeting
City of Muskegon CDBG
Conference Room 203
Muskegon, Michigan
Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The meeting was called to order by Patricia Montney at 5:37 p.m.


Roll call was taken by Liz Parker.

Present:             Patricia Montney, Ned Carter, Muhammad Hakeem, Marcia Hovey-
                     Wright, Virgie Jackson, Thomas Pastoor, Addie Sanders-Randall,
                     Amy Varnado

Excused:             Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Stephen Gawron

Staff Present:       Wilmern Griffin, Liz Parker


Ned Carter made a motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting (March 3,
2009). Addie Sanders-Randall seconded. Motion passed unanimously.


Before the old business started, Pat Montney introduced the newest member of the
group, Muhammad Hakeem. He is from the Angell neighborhood and he wishes to
learn to what extent his influences will help the community.


      HUD Funding Amounts
            CDBG:     $999,433 vs. $984,207 = +$15,226
            HOME:     $322,469 vs. $290,049 = +$32,420

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Both CDBG and HOME increased a little bit. How the CDC decides the money should
be used, the City Commission will have the final determination. Wil Griffin gave
everyone a handout with the City Administration’s CDBG and HOME recommendations.
Pat Montney said under New Business she had the Veterans and Budget Cuts and had
an article to hand out regarding their budget cuts of 25%. She was glad to see the
increase recommendation for the Veterans to give them full funding. Marcia Hovey-
Wright wanted to know if Wil had enough for CDBG Emergency Repairs. Wil said there
is never enough money for Emergency Repairs and he could have used the entire
$15,226, but he wanted to spread the money around and not have it all go to one entity.
Marcia said she was happy with the proposed recommendations. Virgie Jackson said
there were a lot of dips in the road by Ryerson Creek on Home Street off of Apple in the
Marquette area and wanted to know if that qualified for Emergency Repairs. Wil
explained Emergency Repairs was for home repairs, not street repairs. Wil said that
would go under street repair through Engineering. Tom Pastoor said that road was on
the list for street repairs, but he thought it was now pushed back about several years.

The City Administration recommendations for the additional HUD CDBG funding are as

CDBG                                    From          To           Increase
W MI Veterans                           $3,000        $5,000       $2,000
COM-Planning – Façade                   $5,000        $8,500       $3,500
COM-Leisure Svcs – Youth Rec            $75,000       $80,000      $5,000
American Red Cross                      $3,500        $5,000       $1,500
COM-Affirm Act. – Summer Intern         $6,250        $8,000       $1,750
Legal Aid – Foreclosures                $8,500        $9,976       $1,476
Total                                                              $15,226

The CDC made several changes to the City Administration CDBG recommendations:

                                        From          To           Increase
COM-Leisure Svcs – Youth Rec            $75,000       $79,000      $4,000
Musk. Community Health Project          $2,750        $3,750       $1,000

Pat Montney made the recommendation to increase Muskegon Community Health
Project for uninsured diabetics by $1,000 because there are a lot of uninsured diabetics
in need of diabetic supplies by decreasing Leisure Services Youth Recreation by
$1,000. The CDC reason for the changes is that the Muskegon Community Health
Project deals with uninsured diabetics and this is such a growing problem in Muskegon.

Amy Varnado asked if there were any concerns from the non-profits, since the last CDC
meeting, regarding what they’ve received. Wil Griffin said no, but all the groups are
always in need of funding. Tom Pastoor noted the American Red Cross had asked the
City Commission, before they made their final recommendation for an additional $1,000,
which they received. They are now getting an additional $1,500. Marcia Hovey-Wright
said they provide a needed service. Ned Carter did not see a problem with the
recommended changes. Patricia Montney asked if there were any other suggestions.
Marcia Hovey-Wright made a motion to accept the City Administration CDBG

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recommendations with the CDC changes.         Ned Carter seconded.      Motion passed

The City Administration recommendations for the additional HUD HOME funding are as

HOME                                    From          To           Increase
HOME Administration                     $22,500       $25,742      $3,242
Rental Rehab                            $70,000       $74,727      $4,727
COM-CNS - Sr. Weatherization            $125,549      $150,000     $24,451
Total                                                              $32,420

The CDC made several changes to the City Administration HOME recommendations:

HOME                                    From          To           Increase
COM-CNS – Sr. Weatherization            $125,549      $145,000     $19,451
Habitat for Humanity                    $50,000       $55,000      $5,000

The CDC reason for these changes is that Habitat for Humanity always needs and uses
any funds given them for their Muskegon projects.

Marcia Hovey-Wright wanted to know why more money was going to HOME
Administration than they originally requested. Wil Griffin explained administration is
10% of the total funding. Since the funding went up, the administration had to go up
accordingly. Wil Griffin said Neighborhood Investment Corporation and Community
enCompass were not getting any increases as they both have asked for extensions for
spending from last year’s money. Habitat for Humanity was able to spend all their
money. Pat Montney wanted to know if Wil Griffin had started the Sr. Weatherization
Program and he told her no as the program year had just stared the day before. Marcia
Hovey-Wright asked what constitutes administration costs. Wil Griffin explained it
includes salaries and benefits, supplies, ads and Public Notices in the Muskegon
Chronicle for our various projects, which can be very costly, etc. Pat Montney wanted
to know if CNS was getting closer to the goal for 10 years in Rental Rehab. Wil Griffin
said this is the last fiscal year of the CAPER. He’s been trying to meet with landlords
through the Landlord Association for the Lead program. In the beginning of the Lead
program, landlords paid $1,500 and got $8,000 of Lead abatement. The new landlord
pricing has been lowered to $1,000 for $12,000 of Lead abatement. Unfortunately, the
landlords keep saying times are tight and they are afraid if it’s known there is Lead on
their property they will be open for litigation, etc. Ned Carter asked about the Sr.
Weatherization Program and does it really cost that much. Wil Griffin explained the
increased funding will do more to blend into the City’s guidelines on energy efficiency
and help the seniors reduce their energy bills and help the housing stock for the City.
Tom Pastoor wanted to clarify that the money goes into weatherization and not to the
paying of utility bills. Wil said that was correct. Ned asked how much the cost is. Wil
said last year, with the Nova Group, the total bill was about $170,000, including doing
an energy efficiency study on 22 homes in one month, and providing new windows,
furnaces, insulation and doors. CNS paid for half the cost. Marcia Hovey-Wright asked
about the income levels. For this program, it is 80% AMI and is for seniors only. Ned

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Carter mentioned Habitat for Humanity could use the increase in funding as one of their
projects is having financial trouble – the Women’s Build. The additional funding would
greatly help this project. Muhammad Hakeem asked if you had to be an owner or renter
for the Sr. Weatherization. Wil Griffin advised it was owner only. Marcia Hovey-Wright
suggested giving Sr. Weatherization only $20,000 and give $4,451 to Habitat. Addie
Sanders-Randall said the money goes further in the Sr. Weatherization Program.
Muhammad Hakeem asked what properties are used for the HOME programs. Wil
Griffin explained they include rehab and new construction. Lots are either bought
through the tax-reverted program, donated or he buys them from the owners directly.
Marcia Hovey-Wright made the motion to accept the City Administration HOME
recommendations with the CDC changes. Addie Sanders-Randall seconded. The
motion unanimously passed.

    YouthBuild Grant
Wil Griffin reported there is no word on the grant yet. He did mention the Young
Parents, partnering with Every Women’s Place received $700,000 funding. Hopefully
he will get positive word soon on the $1.1million grant.

     NSP – Guidelines & Properties
This grant will include demolitions and rehabs. The properties have to come from
foreclosures handled by HUD or a bank. In three to four months we will be doing
demolitions. 940 Wood, on Wood and Allen, will be rehabbed. Muhammad Hakeem
wanted to know why the house would be rehabbed. Wil Griffin explained it would be the
anchor for other projects in the area. It’s a large house and will make a nice home.
Muhammad also wanted to know if the contractors needed to be licensed. Wil advised
they need a residential builder’s license.

    Action Plan – Revised for NSP
Wil Griffin said the Action Plan did not need to be revised. Only an amendment to the
Action is required. A Public Notice will be put in the Muskegon Chronicle for the
comment period.

     CDBG Stimulus Package - $267,182
The funds of this package must be used for infrastructure or job creation activities. The
City is considering using the funds to pave White Street, between Wood and Scott,
which has never been paved before. Marcia Hovey-Wright wanted to know about filling
potholes. Wil said that was an Engineering project. Wil also thought of a pilot program,
in high crime areas, using solar street lights. This would help the City with energy costs,
reducing electric bills to little or none. It would also light up areas of perceived high
crime areas. Wil is meeting with the City Administration on Friday. Pat Montney asked
about using high energy light bulbs to reduce energy bills and putting a windmill on top
of City Hall. Muhammad Hakeem asked about rehabbing a building to be used as a
community center. Wil Griffin explained that’s not what City Administration wants.
Marcia Hovey-Wright suggested the money be used for green projects. Pat Montney
states using the money for paving is the easiest, but it doesn’t provide long-term
employment. She wanted to know if there can be a stipulation about having residents of
the City of Muskegon hired by the contractor. That also needs to be put in the stimulus
about using local residents. Wil Griffin explained 14% of the staff hired has to be county

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residents. It should be City residents. Pat also said that if this is to be used for
economic development, they should train people to be permanent hires. Muhammad
Hakeem said it use of funds should be cost effective and it should use city residents in
their own neighborhoods. Wil Griffin said as of March, the unemployment rate for the
City of Muskegon was 19.5%, and youth unemployment is even higher. It was also
noted there are no programs for people in their mid to late 20’s. Muhammad also asked
about using the money for job creations, to encourage licenses for bazaars, BBQ’s,
sewing, etc; something small for the neighborhoods that could help sustain the people.
It was brought up that their licenses could result in a conflict with zoning. It was brought
up that micro-enterprises are a good idea and the Chamber of Commerce is supporting
such activities and SCORE is helping these people get started. Pat Montney asked
what was going on with the concept of a downtown grocery store as she hadn’t heard
anything about that in quite a while. Wil Griffin said in Kalamazoo, they had an urban
grocery store, serviced by Spartan. Spartan dropped the grocery store and now it will
have to close. It is very difficult for urban grocery stores to survive in this economy. Pat
wanted to know when the CDBG-R would be started. Wil advised early July.


     NSP2
This is a new grant that Wil Griffin wants to apply for. Out of $1.93 billion available, the
minimum request is $5 million being used on at least 100 units. The units can consist of
demolition, new construction, rehabs and housing counseling. Because of the number
of units involved, the City of Muskegon would have to collaborate with Neighborhood
Investment Corporation, Muskegon Heights, Community enCompass, County Mental
Health, etc. The guideline for each Census Tract is they must have a score of 18 in
foreclosures and/or 18 in vacancy. This score is determined by HUD and the data they
have on foreclosures and vacancies. Most of the City of Muskegon’s Census Tracts
passed, except for the areas of Beachwood/Bluffton, Lakeside, Campbell Field and
Glenside. Some big ticket items Wil Griffin is considering for this project include the
demolition of an old building and building a green development on the lot, using energy
efficient windows, appliances, windmills, etc. It is hoped this development would attract
younger families into the community. Unfortunately, it is feared none of this will be
successful unless the City can bring jobs into the community. Tom Pastoor wanted to
know if there were enough units in order to apply for the grant. Wil said yes. The
deadline for submission is July 17.

     Second Annual Muskegon Unity Academic Olympics
CNS is again sponsoring the Second Annual Muskegon Unity Academic Olympics in
partnership with Muskegon Public Schools. The event is for Muskegon Public Schools
students in grades first thru eighth. The categories will include math, language,
technical (such as plumbing traps) and questions and answers area. The event is
scheduled for Saturday, August 29, from 11am – 2pm at Nelson Elementary School
Field. Wil Griffin is still getting the word out by sending letters to the churches,
applications at the library, attending neighborhood association meetings, etc.

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Patricia Montney adjourned the meeting at 6:45 p.m.

Respectively submitted,

Liz Parker
Community and Neighborhood Services
City of Muskegon

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