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Development & Governmental Relations Committee Meeting April 14, 2021

Apr 14 2021

6:30 pm Remote by Zoom

,

City Council

Holyoke Massachusetts

Notice of Committee Meeting

There will be a regular meeting of the committee on

Development & Government Relations (DGR)

Meeting to take place remotely on Zoom Meetings on Wednesday 4-14-21 at 6:30PM

Per order of the Chair: David Bartley

*** Meeting will take place remotely and can be accessed via www.zoom.us

Meeting ID: 823 3828 1638 Meeting Passcode: 638694 or by call in at 1 (646) 558-8656 with same Meeting ID and Passcode.  ***

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82338281638?pwd=VjVsQTBTWGVGbnh6UlltOHNvdUppZz09

Agenda:

Item 1: Minutes from the last meeting.

Item 2: 4-6-21 FFY2021 Spreadsheet Community Development Block Grant

Item 3: 3-2-21 Community Development - FFY21 CDBG Proposal Summary

Item 4: Schedule next meeting. Potential dates: 4/26, 5/24, 6/14

 

Administrative Assistant: Jeffery Anderson-Burgos
The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law. Also one or two items may require the committee to enter into executive session at this meeting. Agenda subject to change up to two business days (48 hours) prior to posted meeting time.

DGR Chair: David Bartley

DGR Committee Meeting

 

April 14, 2021

 

Members present: Bartley, Tallman, Sullivan, Greaney

Other councilors present: McGiverin, Murphy

 

Bartley called the meeting to order at 6:32 PM.

 

Bartley noted it would be a short but important meeting.

 

 

 

Tallman made a motion to suspend the necessary rules to take items 2 and 3 off the table as a package. Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 2: 4-6-21 FFY2021 Spreadsheet Community Development Block Grant

 

Item 3: 3-2-21 Community Development - FFY21 CDBG Proposal Summary

 

Bartley recognized Alicia Zoeller, head of the Community Development office. Stated that Zoeller would provide a rundown of the Public Service and non Public Service portions of the block grant proposals, followed by a summary of the proposals.

Zoeller stated that she had been proud of work at City Hall in the last month, noting that the Annual Plan was ready to be submitted by may 5th following recommendations that had come in form staff, the Citizens Advisory Committee, the proposals, former Mayor Morse’s recommendations, as well as many public comments.

Bartley recalled reading many of the comments, adding that it had been nice to see feedback. Asked about the members of the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Zoeller stated the members were Kate Kruckemeyer, Albert Bowler, Nelson Lopez, Jose Roman, and Nancy Gentile.

Bartley stated he did not recognize Nancy.

Zoeller stated she had been around for many years.

Zoeller stated that even with a virtual process, they had enjoyed better public involvement than in the past, noting there had been alternate methods of communication and participation. Stated that she could share the spreadsheet and walk through it line by line. Stated that in terms of allocations, they had $1,247,855 available to allocate broken out to the different categories. Stated that Public Service Allocation was at $187,178, The Planning and Administration Allocation was at $249,571, and the Non Public Service Allocation was at $811,106. Stated that she would provide feedback and the status of each item. Clarified the column for the previous year funding, noting that NR meant that they had not received funding requested. Additional columns showed the funds requested, the proposed funding for the Office of Community Development (OCD), the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), and the Mayor.

The programs and categories for funding are as follows:

NON PUBLIC SERVICES (NPS) PROPOSALS

CLEARANCE AND DEMOLITION

Office for Community Development

Demolition of TBD properties

CODE ENFORCEMENT

Board of Health/Building Department

Code Enforcement- Blight Remediation

HOUSING

Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity

Construction Single Family Home 484 Chestnut St

OneHolyoke CDC

Neighborhood Improvement Program

OneHolyoke CDC

Hadley Village Improvements

PUBLIC FACILITIES

Department of Public Works

Springdale Pond Drainage

Sanitary Sewer and Storm Drain Rehab

Wistariahurst Museum Electrical Upgrade

Parks & Recreation Department

Ingleside Park

Handball Court Ward II Park

Mental Health Association

Property Improvements

Planning and Economic Development

El Corazon de Holyoke

Holyoke Health Center

255 High Street Renovations

Girls Inc.

480 Hampden Street Renovations

YMCA

HVAC Improvements

Department of Public Works

Sidewalks

YWCA

Teen Parenting Program Facility

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Office for Community Development

Small Business Grant Program

Office for Community Development

Façade Improvement Program

Serve Food LLC

Food Business Incubator

PUBLIC SERVICES PROPOSALS

PUBLIC SERVICES- YOUTH

Eagle Eye Institute

Environmental Education

Boys and Girls Club

Targeted Literacy Program

Girls Inc.

Strong, Smart Bold

Greater Holyoke Y.M.C.A

Alternatives for Youth

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood

Back to School Event

Homework House, Inc.

After School Tutoring

Boys Scouts

Summer Camp and Scouting

Boys & Girls Club

Career Launch

PUBLIC SERVICES- ELDERLY/HANDICAPPED

Westmass Eldercare

Elder/Disabled Meals Program

PUBLIC SERVICES- EMPLOYMENT/EDUCATION

Care Center

Working for the Future

Entrepreneurship for All, Inc.

SPARK EforAll Holyoke

Providence Ministries

Foodworks@Kate's Kitchen

PUBLIC SERVICES - SOCIAL SERVICES

Salvation Army

Rent and Utility Allowance

Providence Ministries for the Needy

Loreto House

Margaret's Pantry

Womanshelter

Domestic Violence Intervention

PUBLIC SERVICES - GENERAL/OTHER

Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce

Farmers Market Manager

Office for Community Development

Community Neighborhood Clean-Up

OneHolyoke CDC

Keep it Clean

Mass Fair Housing

Legal Services

Way Finders

Resident Leadership (Spanish)

Office for Community Development

Homeless Services

ADMINISTRATION & PLANNING

Office for Community Development

Administration and planning CDBG

 

Zoeller added descriptive information for several items on the list of requests, available on a supplemental spreadsheet, as follows:

Noted that on code enforcement, they initially recommended $36,000 but changed their recommended to the full $72,000 request following discussions with the Building Commissioner, Damian Cote. Stated they understood if the position would be partially funded by the city.

Stated the Habitat for Humanity request is likely for a single family home, adding that were building three homes.

Stated OneHolyokeCDC request was for homeowner grants.

Stated that DPW has three proposals, noting they were heavy infrastructure this year.

Bartley asked where Ingleside Park is located.

Zoeller stated it is on Main St near Jones Ferry, adding there is a stone wall, a set of stairs, and a grassy slope.

Bartley stated his intent was to inform the public where it is.

Zoeller clarified it is in the west side of Main Street.

Bartley noted there had been issues there before. Asked if that had been funded before.

Zoeller stated there had not been an application for Ingleside in the past.

Bartley stated the park had been before the committee before.

Zoeller stated 255 High St is the old Solutions CDC building that was purchased by Holyoke Health Center.

Bartley asked if that was Attorney Moriarty’s old building.

Zoeller stated it is between the Health Center and the Steiger Building.

Bartley recalled that they had received an approval to purchase the building for $5,000.

Tallman stated he recalled a sale there, noting it is next to Mass Surgical.

Zoeller stated that Girls Inc is moving their headquarters form Open Square to 480 Hampden Street, primarily for handicapped access and installation of an elevator.

Stated that the YMCA HVAC improvements were largely Covid related improvements.

Stated that YWCA request was for security cameras.

Stated that in conversations with OPED, they asked for assistance for façade improvement.

Bartley asked for the address of Serve Food LLC

Zoeller stated it was located on High Street.

Bartley asked if they were beyond City Hall.

Zoeller stated they were north of City hall, on the block close to Fernandez Restaurant.

Stated that Public Services were grouped by category.

Stated that Eagle Eye Institute intended to partner with several groups in the city for their environmental education program.

Greaney asked if the Senior Center would be eligible for any of the funds.

Zoeller stated they would be for their programming, adding that they had two contracts with them in the CDBG-CV category.

Stated that Providence Ministries withdraw their application because their program hadn’t run and had not expended any of their FY’20 funds. Stated she planned to work with them to transition their funds to the current year to avoid the need to apply again.

Stated that Loreto House is temporary housing for men.

Stated that with the Farmer’s Market submitted detailed comments on where they’re at and why they sought funding for one more year, adding that they hired market management and planned to relocate to Gateway Cities.

Bartley stated this had been the first time he had not seen this item founded by the mayor. Also noted that the Farmer’s Market had moved to many locations, adding that there had been a plan to locate it at a lot across the street from City Hall next to the parking garage, noting it had not happened.

Zoeller stated that OCD offers neighborhood groups the opportunity to work with them to request A dumpster for neighborhood cleanup, paying for the dumpster for them. Also noted that trash bags and gloves are provided. Stated that funds are available and encouraged groups to seek assistance on planning cleanups.

Stated the Mass Fair Housing sought funds to provide legal services around housing discrimination issues, adding that they have received many more calls due to Covid related evictions.

Stated that Way Finders had offered their Resident leadership program in the past, noting it had been very successful. Stated that with the new Library Commons development, they were seeking to run the program again for new residents.

Stated that Homeless Service request from OCD was in lieu of an application for the drop-in center through the Police Department. Stated they could have a housing navigator point person to help people acquire documents and other resources to find permanent housing. Observed that the Police Department had not submitted an application, and the request was to assure that the services were not missed.

Stated that they had $468,272 in requests, and that they could fund $187,178.

Stated that with regard to Administration & Planning, they were able to allocate 20% of the annual grant to these activities, for a total of $249, 571, adding that the budget request would be $240,000.

Bartley stated that the Public Service category appeared to be level funded.

Zoeller stated that they received a little less in CDBG funds from the previous year, noting that when CAC and the mayor’s office worked on the recommendation, they didn’t have the final number. Stated that she inquired with the CAC if they would plan to meet again following the availability of the final funding figures, adding that they opted not to.

Bartley noted the difference was roughly $2,500.

Zoeller stated that the total to work with was $187,178.

Bartley noted that the previous year in regard to Non-Public Service, the budget was $487,000 and the new one is toughly $811,000.

Zoeller stated that the numbers are different because there were projects that applied for and were funded last year but were not on the spreadsheet because they did not apply for funding for the current year.

Bartley asked if this category was level-funded from the previous year.

Zoeller stated it was pretty close.

Bartley noted the requests were significantly higher than what was available.

Zoeller stated that they hadn’t include prior year funds on the spreadsheet, noting that they were not sure if any activities that were under contract were actually going to move forward. They did not want to put forward funding for projects that could be stalled. Stated that she spoke with the Building Department regarding the Problem Properties Group, noting that $160,000 for code enforcement was unused because they had not been able to attract a code enforcement candidate to hire. Stated that the final allocation may be higher, as they may ask the Building Department to forfeit the FY’19 and FY’20 allocations for reprogramming.

Bartley asked what that would mean for the current year.

Zoeller stated that if the related departments agreed to forfeit the funds, those funds would become available for allocation to other projects.

Bartley asked if that would come back to the committee.

Zoeller suggested that the Acting Mayor add it to the spreadsheet. Expressed a hope to identify programs that could receive excess funds ahead of time, noting that some projects could also come in under budget.

Bartley asked if it would come back to the City Council.

Zoeller stated that it likely would not, adding that if the City Council wanted another review or set a threshold for allowing the Mayor to add, a reprogramming could be done.

Murphy stated he would meet with Zoeller to go over the potential option and could come back to the DGR Committee for input. Stated he would not try to make unilateral decision, adding that his goal was to assure they were united in their efforts.

Tallman noted the importance of returning to the committee, stating that some of the funds dropped this evening could come back for fully funding later, if possible.

Greaney asked if there was a time frame for rollover.

Zoeller stated that there was not. Stated that they could get the funds set for the current year and a reprogramming package could be brought back later.

Murphy asked if the funds were out of the blight remediation.

Zoeller stated they are looking at the code enforcement program, adding that it was roughly $160,000.

Murphy asked where the potential excess funding would likely go.

Zoeller stated that once the funds were freed up, the funds could be put toward any public works projects. Stated that typically department heads discuss to see if there are projects coming in over budget or what else in the city has not been able to get funded.

Bartley explained the process the committee would follow for proposing funding on each item.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $100,000 for Demolition of TBD Properties. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $72,000 for Code Enforcement- Blight Remediation. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked about Habitat for Humanity, noting it appeared they were for soft costs, and asked how many single family homes they intended to build.

Zoeller stated they planned for three.

McGiverin asked why it would not be funded.

Zoeller stated that they believed it was worthwhile, but they were focusing on the neighborhood improvement, noting there were 114 houses on the waiting list. Noted they could seek other funders for the project, adding their recommendation was not an opinion on the value of the proposal.

Sullivan stated that CPA may also have been looking at it. Asked if they cut back due to Covid or manpower.

Zoeller stated they have to recruit families before the building, noting it is sometimes challenging. Stated that they may do one house at a time due.

Murphy emphasized that the lot had been vacant for around 30 years. Stated that two houses may face Jackson St, helping to prevent issues in the park. Noted that the Housing Authority had look to buy the lot and develop a partnership with habitat for Humanity. Suggested it could add to stability for the neighborhood.

Greaney stated that $20,000 for three homes would be money well spent.

Bartley asked if proposing $10,000 would help.

Zoeller stated that $20,000 would be for one house. Stated they planned to come back with more funds in a few months.

Bartley stated he was thinking about zeroing out El Corazon.

 

Bartley made a motion to recommend $20,000 for Construction Single Family Home 484 Chestnut St. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Zoeller stated that there was $619,106 remaining.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $150,000 for Neighborhood Improvement Program. Bartley seconded the motion.

Sullivan suggested offering the full $250,000 requested for Neighborhood Improvement Program, noting the number of applicants the program has.

Bartley noted that would be a big jump and suggested they could double-back later.

Murphy asked if there was a dollar limit for each applicant.

Zoeller stated they offer up to $10,000 per homeowner, adding that circumstances could allow for additional, adding that many do not require that much.

Bartley asked for estimate of how many homes could be covered with the $150,000 typically.

Zoeller stated that in running numbers, they did 92 housing units between 2016-2019, roughly 30 houses a year.

Motion to approve $150,000 passed 4-0

 

Bartley noted that in reading the comments on Hadley Village Improvements, it appeared that some funding would be better than nothing.

Zoeller that at the end, there was a few left over dollars added. Stated that she had hoped to fund the project out of their revolving loan fund, noting this was why they recommended zero funding.

Bartley asked for the balance of the revolving loan fund.

Zoeller stated it was around $300,000, adding that it offers up to $21,500 for rental unit improvements.

Bartley suggested zeroing out, noting it would offer some flexibility in other areas.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $0 for Hadley Village Improvements. Sullivan seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

Murphy asked for a clarification of the revolving loan fund.

Zoeller reiterated it was $21,5000 per unit, had been around for decades, 51% of the occupants of building must be low to moderate income. Stated that the owners continue to pay back and goes back into the program. Stated they had in prior years shifted to the neighborhood improvement program and have been working on ways to market to get people to take some of the funds. Added they can fund lead paint abatement, new windows, heating units, etc.

Bartley suggested sending a communication to Jim Lavelle at HG&E,

 

Greaney asked for the rationale for draining the Springdale Pond.

Zoeller stated they are draining it, adding that it is for rehabilitation to reroute it away from the treatment plant.

 

Tallman asked what the storm drain rehab would entail.

Zoeller stated that many places in downtown where infrastructure is collapsing under roadways, noting many places have metal plates under the roads.

Greaney asked if it could work to help the West Wind Project.

Zoeller stated it could be used if the neighborhood is low to moderate income, and if it is not already funded.

Tallman stated he believed it is expected to be handled this year.

Bartley stated it may not be within the income census tracks.

Zoeller stated that with the new census data, it would require a relook at what low and moderate incomes areas.

 

Tallman noted that the Wisteriahurst project may have received CPA funds for the same project.

Zoeller stated that she understood the funds would complete the project.

Sullivan stated it was required to complete the project.

Tallman made a motion to recommend $35,000 for Wistariahurst Museum Electrical Upgrade. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley stated that the park had been neglected for a long time.

Sullivan asked if the park is an official city park.

Murphy stated he believed it is.

Sullivan stated he believed there had been a building.

Murphy stated a school had been there and became a playground.

Sullivan stated he believed it had not been made an official city park. Stated he had not seen anyone using it, adding that Springdale Park is nearby.

Murphy noted that it had not been used for a long time, adding that many kids had been using it in recent years. Stated that in terms of appearance, there could be a safety issue with the walkway. Also stated that with the lawn, it may serve as a detraction from people visiting the park.

Tallman stated he had recently visited the park and noting a conversation with DPW. Stated he would like to see some funding for the park. Suggested it could be utilized and fixed up.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $25,000 for Ingleside Park. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Murphy stated that with the handball court, observed that people had petitioned for it. Observed that basketball courts had been fixed up. Noted that repairs had been done, but only to what was there but would not allow for tournaments.

Sullivan asked if money had been approved through CPA for the handball courts.

Tallman recalled that a group for the handball attended a committee meeting advocating for handball in the city.

Bartley stated he would like the couple to come before DGR to talk about their advocacy.

Greaney asked if there had been a handball court by Springdale Park.

Murphy stated it was still there. Stated that this was to move the handball court away from the basketball court, and to increase safety by blocking it from balls going into the road.

Greaney stated he recalled decorating the facility. Expressed support for funding.

Sullivan clarified that a request had not been with the CPA.

Zoeller clarified that in the proposal, they stated they would be $25,000 for construction and $18,000 for materials so that anything less would be unlikely to result in a project.

Bartley suggested allocating $18,000 and asked if the project would qualify for reprogrammed funds later.

Zoeller confirmed it would.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $18,000 for Handball Court Ward II Park. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Barkley asked if the property improvements were for 11 Yale St.

Zoeller confirmed it was.

Tallman asked how the funding fits within CDBG funding.

Zoeller stated it was because the facility is a public facility serving low and moderate income residents.

Tallman asked if they started serving.

Zoeller stated they would not release funding until they had residents in the property and who qualified under the CDBG. Also noted it would qualify as transitional housing. Application doesn’t end up on spreadsheet without confidence it falls within the qualifications.

 

Bartley made a motion to recommend $0 for Property Improvements. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Sullivan asked if they expended any of their funds from the previous year.

Zoeller stated they had not, but that they did have a contractor in place and an invoice was expected soon.

Bartley asked about the deadline.

Zoeller stated they encourage them to be done by June 30th. Depending on circumstances, they can be extended, adding that she believes theirs had been extended until December 31st. Added that it is done by OCD. Stated they try to be flexible with city departments.

Bartley asked if the acting mayor would have authority to cancel a contract extension.

Zoeller stated there would not be a reason for it, adding that they could ask to cancel a contact for cause.

Greaney is there are unspent funds, why allocate more.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $0 for El Corazon de Holyoke. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $0 for 255 High Street Renovations. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked for rationale for recommendation of no funding for 480 Hampden Street.

Zoeller stated they were trying to direct funds where need was greatest, such as owner occupied hosing units. Also noted that many public works projects completed. Stated they wanted to do fewer projects and doing them well and getting them done.

Sullivan stated that this was another property that had been taxpaying, went to a nonprofit, and would be using taxpayer funds to support the project.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $0 for 480 Hampden Street Renovations. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Zoeller stated their recommendation for zero on HVAC Improvements was that they believed they could accommodate the request through CDBG-CV funds. Stated there was money allocated to street improvements given to DPW, adding that the funds had not been used. Stated they could reprogram and fund the acidity through another funding pool.

Bartley asked for a clarification of CV funds

Zoeller stated it was from the allocation of Covid response funds. Reiterated that the OCD manages 85 contracts, with many public works projects uncompleted. Expressed concern for capacity to manage additional public works projects. Noted that there are many requirements in managing projects and struggling to get infrastructure projects completed.

Greaney stated he would be fine with funding in another way.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $0 for HVAC Improvements. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley noted that there is usually a standard cost per feet of sidewalk. Asked about the OCD recommendation of $86,000.

Zoeller stated that was what was left over after allocating the other projects. Added that it was the kind of project that could be handled at whatever funding is offered.

Tallman clarified that the funding for the areas is based on income.

Zoeller noted that their income census tracks had allowed for improvements in the Lincoln Stop and Shop area as well as toward the mall area, such as Brown Avenue.

Greaney asked about Woods Avenue.

Tallman noted the struggles. Suggested a decent amount as the line had been missed the last two years.

McGiverin asked which number were being used.

Zoeller stated they did not expect data for their purposes until the following Spring.  Added that if the funds didn’t get used for the Fall project season, they could be used according to updated data.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $150,000 for Sidewalks. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Barley asked why Ten Parenting Program was zeroed out.

Zoeller stated they believed the price was high for a security system.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $0 for Teen Parenting Program Facility. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 3-0

 

Bartley asked for clarification of the recommendation on the Small Business Grant

Zoeller stated they proposals in at the same time as other projects and don’t know what will be requested, adding that when they look at the other propels and determine where higher priorities are. Also noted they hadn’t spent the $130,000 from the precious year, noting challenges with administering their program with the Chamber of Commerce.

Murphy stated he was planning to speak with the business community on their challenges and their needs. Asked if the money is for new businesses.

Zoeller stated they qualify businesses on if it is owned by low and moderate income households, or if the funds would used to retain jobs for low and moderate income employees. Stated one challenge was that because they were federal funds, the process is onerous. Suggested there be a point person that business can reach out to that understand the many steps of the process.

Murphy asked if it would be possible to develop a contact for businesses to have questions answered.

Zoeller stated they determined that a portion can be used for project delivery costs. Noted the need to have someone who understands the programs, the local services, lenders, etc.

Bartley asked what is available for Covid funds.

Zoeller stated there was around $100,00 available, adding the funds would go fast, noting they would look to offer roughly $10,000 per business.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $80,000 for Small Business Grant Program. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked what could be done with $50,000.

Zoeller stated it would go with a matching program for façade improvements. Stated that with $25,000, they could do two businesses, adding that it is a program requiring a 1-1 match with the businesses.

Sullivan recalled that there had not been interest in the past.

Zoeller stated that was true, adding that it was in different times, more business looking to offer outdoor business and new businesses along High St.

Bartley asked if OPED indicated specific when they proposed renewing the program.

Zoeller stated they had talked about trying again along Hugh, maple, Main, and Chestnut.

McGiverin stated he expected rebound for the program, adding that with interest rates low, many businesses could more easily borrow their portion of the match.

Bartley asked if Covid funds could be used.

Zoeller stated those funds are directly related to response issues.

Murphy expressed hope with the new Covid funding, there could be additional help for businesses in this area.

Sullivan asked if façade meant any part of exterior walls.

Zoeller stated they typically require it be the side facing the street. Stated they have done new windows in the past, removal of coverings of arches, awnings, signs when done with other parts of the façade.

Sullivan noted that the city tore down a building recently and there is an empty lot and walls against the abutting businesses.

Zoeller stated they could creatively work with those businesses. Stated that one barrier was that those who applied had building owners who had not been current with property taxes.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $25,000 for Façade Improvement Program. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked why the recommendation was for zero.

Zoeller stated that the business could apply for a small business grant program.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $0 for Food Business Incubator. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked for an update on the fund remaining for the category.

Zoeller stated that they were at $136,106.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $250,000 for Neighborhood Improvement Program. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

McGiverin stated he had long been a fan of the program, noting the need and demand that will always be with us.

Bartley recalled opposing fully funding in the past, adding that they had done good work with budgeting and supporting the funding this time. Offered an update that there was roughly $36,000 remaining.

Zoeller recommended fully funding the handball court so that Parks and DPW can get going on the project.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $43,000 for Handball Court Ward II Park. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

The committee marveled at their unanimous recommendations throughout the meeting.

 

Bartley offered an update that $11,106 remained, adding a suggestion that the remaining go to sidewalks.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $161,106 for Sidewalks. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley noted that the Public Service portion is always short, and the projects were all very deserving recipients. Asked if Eagle Eye Institute was new.

Zoeller stated they were a new applicant, adding that they were based in Northampton and had been working in Holyoke for many years. Stated that the recommendation of zero due to the need to prioritize allocations with limited funds.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $0 for Environmental Education. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley stated the Targeted Literacy is a great program. Asked if $7,000 would help.

Zoeller stated they will help as many kids as they can with the funds they received.

Murphy noted that kids had been through much in the last year, adding that he would look at how many kids are helped and what can be done to get them to grade level education.

Bartley suggested circling back after funding the other programs.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $7,000 for Targeted Literacy Program. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley noted it had been a initial program. Asked why $7,000.

Zoeller stated they had a good track record, adding that they were trying to maximize funding over several agencies. Stated it is STEM for girls.

Greaney made a motion to recommend $7,000 for Strong, Smart Bold. Tallman seconded the motion.

Sullivan suggested they should het the whole ask of $15,000 noting they faced many challenges.

Greaney withdraw his motion.

Tallman expressed a concern that while they were worthy, it would mean cutting elsewhere.

Greaney made a motion to recommend $7,000 for Strong, Smart Bold. Tallman seconded the motion.

Sullivan stated there would be other opportunities for adjustments.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $15,000 for Strong, Smart Bold. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 3-1

 

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $10,000 for Alternatives for Youth. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked why OCD recommended zero.

Zoeller stated that due to limited dollars, they believe it is a worthy recipient, but they felt there would be additional community support.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $1,500 for Back to School Event. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $10,000 for After School Tutoring. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked where the group was based.

Zoeller stated they are regional, west of Westfield. Stated they would support funding if they had more funding. Noted that the per child cost is high. Stated belief that a partial fund likely would not help many kids.

Bartley suggested communicating with them. Asked to inquire how many Holyoke kids attend their camp.

Zoeller stated they Holyoke kids would have to be the ones getting funded. Stated they encourage new applicants, noting they never know how much money they will get.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $0 for Summer Camp and Scouting. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked about the recommendation for zero funding.

Zoeller stated they have a great program but that had limited funds to spread around.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $0 for Career Launch. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $20,000 for Elder/Disabled Meals Program. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked for more info on the program.

Zoeller stated the Care Center works with young women in parenting, stating it helps them get diplomas. Stated it ensures young women have access to educational opportunity to support their families. Stated they had been doing a great job with programming online. Stated they recommended $5,000 due to limited funding.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $7,000 for Working for the Future. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked about the recommendation of $5,000.

Zoeller stated the same reason, limited funding.

Bartley noted they do a lot of good work.

Zoeller stated that they use them as a basic of if a business has graduated form their program, they could qualify for small business grants. Stated the recommendation was not a reflection of the agency.

Sullivan for an update on remaining funds.

Zoeller stated that $116,678 remained.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $10,000 for SPARK EforAll Holyoke. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley noted that Kate’s Kitchen would be skipped as they had withdrawn their request.

 

Bartley noted they never fund the Salvation Army, adding that they do good work for a lot of people.

Tallman asked why they recommended no funding.

Zoeller stated that $20,000 for rental assistance and the work it takes to administer rental assistance, they did not believe the organization had the local capacity to effectively administer assistance for the amount requested. Stated it needs to be done by an agency with long term experience working in the CDBG program.

Bartley asked if there would be a way to get them technical training to develop the capacity.

Zoeller they hired a consultant to do capacity building locally where suggestions were made. Suggested they stick with a program they currently administer. Noted that rental assistance reviews with certifications and contracts.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $0 for Rent and Utility Allowance. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $25,000 for Loreto House. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $25,000 for Margaret's Pantry. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Murphy stated that with everything he understands about the program, and the impact of Covid, there were additional concerns with people needing the protection through programs like this.

Bartley noted the support over the years, adding that they deserve level funding.

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $18,000 for Domestic Violence Intervention. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $0 for Farmers Market Manager. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $750 for Community Neighborhood Clean-Up. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $0 for Keep it Clean. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Murphy noted they with their work, they get some community building development. Suggested offering them something to show appreciation for their efforts.

Tallman made a motion to reconsider. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $1,000 for Keep it Clean. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $5,000 for Legal Services. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked for information on the program/.

Zoeller stated it is a 12 week program they recruit from the neighborhood, Providing training to residents around issues who the government is branches, how ot talk to City Hall about complaints what if you have issues with neighbors, etc. empowering people to be good neighborhood stewards, how to get involved in civic life.

Bartley asked if the $4,000 would help.

Zoeller stated it would.

Murphy stated that part of the initiative in pursuing Spanish language translation was through the advocacy of people in this program.

 

Greaney made a motion to recommend $4,000 for Resident Leadership (Spanish). Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked for information on the program.

Zoeller stated it is a location so that of the police fins someone on the street, they can help people access resources and services. Noted that it was important to have it be off of police property to avoid having it appear to be a punitive measure. Stated a need of the recommendation of $42,428 to make it work.

Sullivan asked why the Police Department had not submitted a request.

Zoeller stated they it was likely due to a miscommunication when the applications were announced. Reiterated they did not want the program to fall off.

Sullivan stated he had called the program many times over the last year and believed the program to be a fantastic resource.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $27,928 for Homeless Services.

McGiverin asked if what the funds would pay for.

Zoeller stated that $42,000 would cover rent for the space.

McGiverin asked who the landlord was.

Zoeller stated it was Lori Devine, affiliated with Gateway Cities. Stated they would be doing an RFP to assure competitive rent rates. Stated they would partner with the PD for competitive bids for rent.

McGiverin asked about the size of the space.

Zoeller stated she was not sure.

McGiverin stated it appeared to be $3,600 a month.

Zoeller confirmed that was correct.

McGivern asked if any funds go to police salaries.

Zoeller stated it did not. Stated she could get the numbers.

McGiverin stated that the intent and need is there but believed it could be absorbed into their budget. Stated there should be something more economical available.

Zoeller stated that with current allocation, they are only paying rent.

McGiverin empathized that with cheaper rent, they could do other things with the funds. Asked if the recipients of the service has to be a Holyoke resident.

Zoeller stated they are homeless but coming off of the streets of Holyoke and reported as homeless. Stated that the previous year budget was $30,000, working out to $2,500 a month.

McGiverin asked how many individuals were served the previous year.

Zoeller that within the current cycle, they had served 100 people thus far.

McGiverin suggested that the work could be done in the safety center of the annex within proximity of other city services.

Zoeller stated that the mayor should take that up with the Police Department.

Tallman stated it was important to keep the program going, noting that the remaining funds would not be nearly enough. Asked if some reprogramming funds could be used.

Zoeller stated that the category was capped. Stated that if the desire was to level fund, the funding could be changed to $30,000, and another proposal would have to be decreased.

Tallman asked what it would do for the drop-in.

Zoeller stated it would cover the rent. Stated that the $42,000 would cover some materials.

Bartley asked if it had been put out to RFP initially.

Zoeller stated she was not sure how they ended up in their current space.

Bartley stated he understood the building was for sale.

Zoeller stated she could not speak on that.

Bartley asked how quickly McGiverin could get answers relative to alternative spaces.

McGiverin stated he could inquire, but that the mayor and police department would need to be on board. Suggested that the intent and the service go well, and it would made sense to combine. Suggested a need for more of a human touch.

Sullivan asked for more information of Mass Fair Housing.

Zoeller stated they are a housing discrimination agency in Holyoke, one of the oldest in the country. They assist with discrimination cases, discrimination testing, fair housing work. Stated they are on Suffolk.

Sullivan asked who else they are funded by.

Zoeller stated they have partnered with them, and that they sometimes get funding from HUD and from the state.

Sullivan noted that they get funded form HUD and that funding from CDBG would be indirectly from HUD as well.

Zoeller stated that with CDBG, it comes with the geographic limitation that the funding goes toward helping Holyoke residents.

Sullivan asked if they work with other communities.

Zoeller stated they work with clients throughout the valley.

Bartley suggested shaving a couple thousand from a couple agencies.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $2,920 for Legal Services. Motion failed.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $4,000 for Legal Services. Tallman seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $8,928 for SPARK EforAll Holyoke. Bartley seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to recommend $30,000 for Homeless Services. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Tallman made a motion to approve the Non-Public Services and Public Services budgets, as amended. Sullivan seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Bartley asked if a separate vote is needed on Home Funds.

Zoeller stated a vote was needed on Admin and Planning.

 

Sullivan made a motion to recommend $240,982 for Administration and Planning CDBG. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0

 

Zoeller stated that the Home Funds would be a part of a resolution that the City Council adopts when they meet to approve the funds.

 

Bartley stated the last item would be scheduling the next meeting. Stated the next could be for May 24, adding that April 26 would not be necessary.

Tallman made a motion to adjourn. Greaney seconded the motion. Passed 4-0.

 

Adjourned at 9:31 PM.


Jeffery Anderson-Burgos
Administrative Assistant to the City Council

Holyoke City Hall
536 Dwight St, Room 10
Holyoke, MA 01040
Regular hours 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Meeting days 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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