PLANNING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES – FEBRUARY 15, 2012
MEETING MINUTES – FEBRUARY 15, 2012
** NOT APPROVED **
Members Present: F. Sinclair, D. Pullen, M. Healy, T. Hopkins, K. LaForge, K. Graves, P. Curran, C. Crandall
Absent: A. McGraw
Others Present: D. Burdick, T. Miner, J. Margeson, B. Rhiele, J. Foels, K. Dirlam, L. Bliven, R. Lynch-Sobeck, B. Clark (OTH-Media)
Chairman Sinclair called the meeting to order at 11:03 a.m.
Approval of Minutes
A motion was made by Legislator Hopkins, seconded by Legislator Healy and carried, to approve the minutes of January 18, 2012.
Housing Issues Report, ACCORD & DSS
Chairman Sinclair reported on the Housing Issues report previously Emailed to committee members and included in today’s packet. Chairman Sinclair met with ACCORD Executive Director Charlie Kalthoff and Lynn Faecke, Director of Housing and DSS Commissioner Vicki Grant; to discuss and develop potential program designs that can address housing conditions; affordability and availability in the County (see Addendums A, B, C, and D, Pgs., 7-20).
Chairman Sinclair summarized their discussion regarding the mid-range housing market as an area that would not be targeted other than assisting restoration, renovation or weatherization programs. While reviewing the Middaugh Real Estate site, it was noted there are multiple homes that are good quality homes, with multiple mid-range housing along with high-end housing available also, which apparently narrows focus to a need for low-income housing and mandated housing issues.
There was discussion regarding housing programs and grants. Information was disbursed for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. See Addendum B. There are mandated housing requirements for difficult to place populations such as incarcerated individuals, parolees and the homeless. Some programs mandate the County is responsible to provide housing. Chairman Sinclair asked Committee members to please review the documents.
Director Mike Hennessy was
unavailable to attend to report on this issue.
Chairman Sinclair reported on this veterans housing initiative starting
to help veterans experiencing financial difficulty and/or single vets looking
for housing. ACCORD has applied for a
$290,000 grant, which will provide rapid re-housing services including financial
assistance, homeless prevention and supportive case management services for low
income veterans and their families living in Allegany, Cattaraugus and
Employment & Training – R. Sobeck-Lynch, Director, reported that her unemployment rate reported in January was for November and December was at 8.6%. She reported as follows:
Training: No individuals for January
Employment: Jobs found – 27 (13 full-time and 14
part-time). The Agency works with
Unemployment: 7% - November and 8.6% for December for Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. The January rate is not expected until next week. There were 7 new claims for unemployment insurance in January, according to the OSOS software.
The STAR Program (Successful Transition and Re-entry) launched this month with two of the participants with referrals to her office from the Jail or Probation.
E&T is partnering with Alfred State College to utilize their Career-beam software to assist our job seekers. There will be a link on the E&T website to access this.
The Agency has been testing individuals for positions available at Dresser-Rand in Wellsville.
Ms. Sobeck-Lynch noted she met
with a company in
Legislator Pullen referred to a
recent NYSAC Conference he attended and an individual from
Legislative Chairman Crandall referred to the NYSDOL report (attached) and asked if the applicants can land in multiple categories, so it is not numbers of individuals, rather multiple.
Legislator LaForge noted he
attended the same seminar and addressed the K-12 disconnect and asked if that
is a concern in
Legislator Pullen commented he attended the OFA luncheon last week and there was discussion regarding minimum wage and whether it should be raised. He would like to make a statement he knows is politically incorrect, however, noted he feels strongly about this issue. Assemblyman Dan Burling indicated his opposition to raising minimum wage for a couple of reasons, but Legislator Pullen looks at this and says, “if there are jobs for people with training, I would much prefer to increase the skills so that someone can get a job that’s going to pay significantly higher than minimum wage, something where a worker can support themselves. And, at the risk of sounding heartless; the welfare programs, the safety net, was never intended to live off. In my view, it needs to be painful so that people will be motivated. If something feels good, you pursue it, if something hurts, you avoid it. I look at this and say the motivation should be there for people to improve their skills, improve their circumstances. If we invest in poverty, it’s not surprising to me that we get more poverty. If we invest in training and education and skills, so that people can improve, then I see that as being something. I want more skilled workers in our county. I want more people who are employed and motivated and moving themselves and their families forward. It just seems where you invest you get your return. Right now, I believe as a nation, certainly as a state, we have invested too much at the lowest end. We are told we have to do that to provide, but then we lose the motivation.” He discussed the large numbers of people at the low end and their desire for us to do more for them commenting, “I would be happy to do more of the training and skill improvement level rather than in doing things that make it easier for them to remain and function at that very low level and minimum wage is one of those answers that I do not support minimum wage increases; certainly not at a state or local level, and really dependently not even at a national level. But, there are jobs there and opportunities for those who improve their skill level.” He thanked Ms. Sobeck-Lynch for the job she is doing and urged that we continue in the direction of better trained workers.
Legislator LaForge referenced what Legislator Pullen said and commented that during their session, Bill Daily of Chautauqua County, commented there is a pool of machinists that are in their 50’s and will be retiring within the next ten years. We also will be facing the same situation with our plants here. We need to work towards having skilled employees available. Ms. Sobeck-Lynch commented this is one reason why Alfred State College is working so closely with Dresser-Rand. She also invited committee members to attend BOCES “Community Day” today from 3-7 pm.
Cooperative Extension – L. Bliven reported that she continues to work with rural residents on how to use their land resources and generate income, especially this time of year. Much of this is done through one-on-one phone calls. They are also doing proactive workshops and educational workshops, such as maple syrup production. It’s another farming opportunity in our area as compared to years past when it was just a hobby.
We continue to work with STW on their three-county Buy Local Initiative and are hopeful to receive some funds through shared grants.
The Allegany Harvest Cooperative Market store at Houghton is moving forward and looking to support locals and identify producers; and also training the producers to sell in a retail store (verses roadside) and dealing with safety issues with the goal of a safe local food supply.
other year the Cornell Small Farm Program hosts a summit and this year Ms.
Bliven will facilitate the
Regarding 4-H; there is a shift in focus within the schools to educate more in the science and technology which correlates with what Ms. Sobeck-Lynch was referring to.
Legislator Pullen requested some data and numbers overall for the next meeting on the number of people using the Cornell Programs. She reported on facts regarding larger scale, commodity or dairy, and agencies serving these crop management issues. We are serving a different audience than 20 years ago. It’s gone from more recreational to how an income can be generated from residential property.
In M. Burkes, absence, Mr. Dirlam reported on the new Tourism brochures going to print and to be released within the next few weeks.
There has been some interaction regarding the water systems and efficiency grant program. Has been working with grant writers and letters will be distributed to the towns and villages this week and the application will be submitted within the next month.
We are completing the Communications Report of last year and will soon be ready to go to print.
The Planning Board will be meeting tonight and the meeting time has changed this year from 7:30 pm to 7:00 pm the third Wednesday’s of the month. Mr. Dirlam reported on several activities at the local levels regarding planning issues that are brought to the County Planning Board:
Chairman Sinclair asked Mr.
Dirlam to provide the yellow brochures at the next meeting that indicate the
state law and mission of the Planning Board and its role. Mr. Dirlam commented that there are certain
issues that trigger the County Planning Board to review. The towns and villages submit items to the
Office of Development & IDA – J. Foels, Director, reported on the Crossroads Project which is a high priority at this time and is progressing at the rate expected. The project is basically broken down into three aspects:
J. Foels reported on the fiber optic and broadband capability capacity here in the county. ION continues to move aggressively and we are in line with their schedule. The structure is in place at the Crossroads facility and agreements are also in place.
The Legislature has identified two key projects which is the Crossroads water infrastructure and Route 417 infrastructure. J. Foels and K. Dirlam continue working on the Route 417 project as well.
Chairman Sinclair inquired about bid packets and J. Foels reported the preparation of the bid package for the Crossroads will take place over the next 4-6 weeks, but we stay on track for a March or April date. We have to be sensitive to the needs of our customer and some details have not yet been finalized.
Ø As long as temps are around or below 32 degrees they continue to make snow and are doing well.
Ø This year they had a high for number of season ticket holders and the highest turnout yet for schools.
Ø One problem they have is perception/reality. If people see the sun out and its 40 degrees and no snow on ground, people don’t think of going skiing. They are very aggressive marketers and have re-done the restaurant and coffee bar areas.
Ø Working on reinvesting in building upgrades and K. Dirlam working on a residential subdivision with Swain development.
Good of the Order – Nothing to report.
With no further business, a motion was made by Legislator Graves, seconded by Legislator Pullen and carried to adjourn the meeting at 11:59 a.m.
Cathleen L. Whitfield
Confidential Secretary to Director of Development
NOTE: Information on Housing begins on the next page.
Housing report to County
ACCORD has been providing rehabilitation programs to the community since 1972. There is clearly an ongoing need to assist homeowners and renters in improving the conditions, availability, and affordability of housing. The generally lower value in housing makes it difficult to secure bank financing for improvements, particularly for lower income families. Landlords, due to lower incomes, keep rents lower than they might want simply to maintain occupancy, leaving fewer dollars for maintenance and improvements. Most of the housing improvement resources available to assist owners or renters is based on the income of the occupant of the housing. Funds for rehabilitation must first address environmental hazards, building code issues, and energy efficiency items. If the available funds cannot completely address all of these areas we cannot provide any funding. Further, specific funding sources restrict the amount of rehab dollars by the final value of the unit. If rehab costs more than half of the assessed value nothing can be done, unless we can identify other resources to fill the gap. ACCORD has worked with the county for years as their county- wide housing program provider, preparing and administering programs through Community Development Block Grant and the Federal HOME program. We suggest that we revive this relationship and look at the upcoming round of funding to develop a county-wide rehab program to systematically address housing needs around the county. One area that we feel we need to focus on is the need for water and sewer upgrades or replacement. These targeted improvements could use the same funding sources.
Counties throughout the State are a major payer of housing costs for their clients eligible for DSS services, i.e. rents and utilities. Vicki raised concerns about available housing for singles, the quality and cost of housing for families, and special needs housing. Many of the current clients would fall under and benefit from the above mentioned rehab and replacement programs. Specifically, single room occupancy housing appears to be a need. As many of these persons are recently released from jail or other treatment programs they can be considered homeless and a facility might be able to be developed that provided housing for these persons. We would need to find a building or site that could be accessible to community services and transportation. ACCORD has used the Homeless Housing Assistance Program several times and could assist in developing and managing this type of facility.
We will be researching models from around the state for housing these special populations.
There will likely be some upcoming opportunities for grant
funding to address some of these needs. We anticipate disaster funding being
available in March and may address some limited issues in select areas of the
county. The Consolidated Funding Application making available all State housing
resources is likely, pending approval of the state budget, in May or June of
this year. The above approaches are generally all potential projects for
submittal. When new funding rounds
arise, ACCORD housing staff will research grant opportunities to improve and
increase the housing stock in
The Community Development Block
Grant (CDBG) Program
is a federally funded program authorized by Title I of the Housing and
Community Development Act of 1974. The Office of Community Renewal is
The New York CDBG Program provides community development grants to towns, villages, and cities with a population under 50,000 and counties with an unincorporated population under 200,000. The CDBG Program provides smaller communities with the opportunity to make local decisions concerning community development without duly increasing the local tax burden of their citizens. Please visit our Eligible Communities page to see if your community is currently eligible for New York CDBG funding.
Under the CDBG Program,
approximately $50 million of funding is available annually to eligible
In addition to HCR, eight other state agencies and authorities have pooled together resources to be made available through the CFA. HCR has dedicated up to $169 million in resources to affordable housing and community revitalization projects through the CFA. NYS CDBG funding is included in those resources.
Towns, villages, and cities are eligible to receive up to $400,000 for Housing and Public Facilities, and up to $600,000 for Public Infrastructure (water/sewer only) projects. County applicants can receive up to $750,000 for Housing, Public Facilities, and Public Infrastructure projects. Applicants applying jointly for assistance with Public Infrastructure (water/sewer only) projects may receive up to $900,000. For Economic Development grants, the maximum award is $750,000. Community Planning grants are a maximum of $25,000.
Applicants of the CDBG program must ensure that 70% of all activities funded under the program primarily benefit low-and moderate-income households-- those with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Each CDBG-funded activity must also meet one of the national objectives: benefiting low- and moderate-income households; aiding in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight; or meeting community development needs having a particular urgency.
Communities wishing to apply for CDBG funds are encouraged to
attend one of the Office of Community Renewal's Application Workshops held annually across the
Objectives of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
As set forth in the Federal Housing and Community Development Act, the Primary Objective of the CDBG program is, "the development of viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income." Under the Act, CDBG funds are intended for the support of community development activities that are directed toward the following specific objectives:
In support of the State's long-term objectives, the New York State CDBG Program will:
Through an annual allocation of
funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), approximately
$50 million in CDBG funds are available each year.
Cities, towns, and villages located in non-entitlement areas with a population under 50,000 and counties with an unincorporated population of 200,000 are eligible to apply for CDBG funding through the Office of Community Renewal. Eligible applicants must be in substantial compliance with all applicable State and Federal laws, regulations, and Executive Orders that pertain to the CDBG Program.
Types of Applications
Applicants applying for a competitive round grant must address and resolve specific community development needs within the areas of Housing, Public Infrastructure, or Public Facilities.
Counties may apply on behalf of units of general local government located within their jurisdiction when the unit of general local government has authorized the county to apply. The unit of general local government will be considered the applicant for determining grant limits, and its statistics will be used for purpose of the selection factors.
Maximum Grant Amounts
Annual Competitive Round
Towns, Cities, Villages:
Public Infrastructure (water/sewer only)
Housing/Public Facilities/Public Infrastructure
The activities eligible under the CDBG Program are identified in Section 105(a) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended and 24 CFR 570.482, as amended.
Primary and National Objectives
All CDBG projects are required to meet the two program goals - the primary and national objectives. The primary objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income. To achieve this primary objective, applicants must ensure that at least 70 percent of its grant funds are used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income families.
In addition to meeting the primary objective, applicants must also meet one of the three National Objectives: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums and blight, or address an urgent community development need. All applicants must maintain data to demonstrate that the project is meeting one of the above listed objectives.
Types of Grants
There are three types of housing projects eligible for NYS CDBG funding: housing rehabilitation, direct homeownership assistance, and private water/wastewater system assistance. The primary goal of any housing project is to increase the supply of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents. Through a needs analysis and detailed survey of income and housing conditions, each applicant will be able to determine the most suitable approach for addressing these goals.
The CDBG program is highly flexible, allowing for communities to develop an approach to rehabilitation that best suits their needs. The following are examples of program designs:
the above are examples of the ways in which a community can address their
substandard housing conditions. Programs designed to conduct housing
rehabilitation activities that provide safe and habitable housing primarily for
low-and moderate-income households at standards of quality meeting
In addition to housing rehabilitation needs, communities may have homeownership needs that could be addressed through a homeownership assistance program. Such a program would provide financial assistance to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers for the purchase of homes for sale. As with the Rehabilitation activities, the program is designed to be flexible so communities can determine the appropriate means of assistance. Activities that are commonly found in homeownership programs include the following:
Providing safe drinking water and wastewater systems to individual property owners falls under the category of housing, as these types of assistance provide a direct benefit to those receiving funding. Direct assistance activities can include drilling of private wells, construction or rehabilitation of septic systems, and installation of lateral connections to low- and moderate-income households from the public water/sewer mains. Applications for funding of lateral connections can be stand-alone projects or can be part of a larger public infrastructure project. However, in order for a community to construct the laterals out of CDBG funds, the homeowners must be low- and moderate-income.
Successful applications for private water/wastewater systems will include evidence that property owners are eligible and willing to participate in the program, information as to how the program will be marketed, and information on the level of subsidy and type of subsidy (loan or grant).
Public Facilities and Public Infrastructure
Under the public infrastructure category, projects may include: water source development, storage, and distribution; sanitary sewage collection and treatment; flood control and storm water drainage; public works such as sidewalks, streets, parking, open space, and publicly owned utilities. Eligible programs can include the repair or replacement of existing systems, construction of new systems, or expansion of existing systems into previously unserved areas. Projects that provide assistance for lateral connections for water and sewer projects are considered under the housing category.
For projects that require funding above the maximum funding level available from the Office of Community Renewal, the applicant must find additional sources of funding and provide evidence that funding is committed to the project. For additional information on other sources of information, applicants may contact the New York Co-Funding Initiative.
Through the public facilities category, applicants can seek funding for structures to house or serve special-needs populations; senior services; child care centers; removal of architectural barriers for the disabled (lifts, automatic doors, ramps, etc.); and multi-purpose buildings housing several qualifying activities for low- and moderate-income persons. CDBG funds can be used for construction or renovation of facilities, but cannot be used to cover the day-to-day operational costs, nor can funds be used for buildings that are primarily for the general conduct of government business (i.e. town halls).
For projects that require funding above the maximum funding level available from the Office of Community Renewal, the applicant must find additional sources of funding and provide evidence that funding is committed to the project.
Applying for Funding
Eligible applicants seeking to apply for funding must complete the Regional Economic Development Council's Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). The CFA will be the single application economic development projects must complete. Applications for competitive round CDBG funds submitted under the 2011 NOFA may be considered by Regional Economic Development Councils. New applications for these programs will be accepted in connection with future Notices of Funding Availability.
Last Updated: 6/3/11
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Vicki Grant, Commissioner
SUBJECT: Homeless Services
I can’t exactly recall the extent of your homeless challenges but I do remember that they were at a level of concern. I will share with you sufficient information in this memo so you can advise me how I can be most helpful to you given the dimensions of your homeless issues.
First, landlord status needs to be viewed in a positive light. By landlord we should mean – control. If the local district controls the housing that is being used to meet your homeless needs then landlord becomes a less meaningful term. For instance, you do not need to own a housing unit to control it. The first homeless housing unit I owned was a tax acquired property in 2001 that I converted to use for sex offenders – level 3 primarily but some level 2 as well. It was the location of the property that was attractive and that made it so acceptable (politically) as a place to house sex offenders. So, I own it and I am the landlord. I make the rules. Each homeless placement there must sign an agreement (similar to a lease). They either follow the rules or I evict them. If they are on parole and I evict them they usually go back to prison. Almost NEVER do they violate my housing rules! There is no living in manager or supervisor. Parole and Probation visit the home routinely. My investigative staff also visit there about once a week. Actually, with very few exceptions, sex offender placements in this facility keep it clean, follow the rules and stay out of trouble. Those that do get violated go back to prison – pretty simple!
Second, I lease apartments and housing units for a monthly rental amount and I then in turn use them to house homeless – single males or single females. I am not the landlord but I control the premises! This is the real key. In these cases too, I have all homeless individuals sign an agreement. I put 2, 3 or even 4 single adults in one of these apartments or housing units at a time. I “control” the environment. I set the rules, not the landlord or owner. I have found that it is costly and wasteful to have a manger or run a facilitated program. I run safe and healthy units. I do have to provide clean linen and do some occasional clean up. However, no single persons stay on in this housing for very long – typical stay has an average of under one week. When all stays are averaged in the mean rises a bit but not too much.
Third, I do own a house that is used
for housing families and single adults in addition to the apartments. I use the same agreements and again I provide
a monitoring system to insure compliance.
The real crux of this whole matter boils down to what you need to do to
administer safe, effective and EFFICIENT homeless housing services. By efficient, I mean that my total costs,
including everything (heat, electric, maintenance, cleaning, etc.) comes to
under $50,000 per year for all of
I will advise you that if you are not the landlord and you do not control the premises of your homeless housing units you will be paying for what amounts to a shelter program – shelter programs are staffed and expensive – they have built in high administrative costs. If you don’t use this approach and you use hotels and motels – they have minimal rules – cable TV, drinking, smoking, drugs, sex, etc. All of these things can go on and, in fact, do go on in every homeless housing arrangement in NYS where homeless individuals are placed in hotels and motels. In view of the minimal rules – typically related to noise as the # 1 rule – hotels and motels are a highly attractive placement for homeless individuals. The average length of stay in a hotel or motel for a homeless person as compared with a structured group placement in housing controlled by the local district is 5 to 25 times longer!
I extend an invitation for you to come to Delaware and view our housing, meet my homeless staff and see what we do and how we do it. If you want something more meaty and useful for your legislative types, I will discuss a consulting arrangement with you. I have been studying upstate homeless issues and factors for about 15 years. I think I have a very workable solution.
So, in conclusion, you do not have to be a landlord. Real efficiency however is tied to the extent and nature of “control” you exercise over your homeless population; give them to someone else and it costs more; put them in hotels and motels and the cost is the highest! Would you believe that there are local districts (our size) spending more than $1M a year on their homeless? Well, I can tell you it’s true! I can’t recall what your expenditures were on an annual basis (you may not have told me – I may not have asked) but if they are over even $100,000 a year – you can reduce them!
Hope this is what you were looking for and that it is helpful. Give me a call when you want to talk about what’s next.
About the NYS HOME Program (HOME)
The New York State HOME Program is administered by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC). The program uses federal HOME Investment Partnership Program funds to expand the supply of decent, safe, and affordable housing within the State. Approximately $33 million is available for capital (multifamily) projects and local program administrators (single family projects) in 2008.
The HOME Program funds a variety of activities through partnerships with counties, towns, cities, villages, private developers, and community-based non-profit housing organizations. The program provides funds to acquire, rehabilitate, or construct housing, or to provide assistance to low-income home-buyers and renters. Funds must be distributed in accordance with needs and priorities identified in the State's Consolidated Plan. Federal HOME Program regulations (24 CFR Part 92) set forth requirements for formula allocations, eligible activities, matching funds, qualifications as affordable housing, and compliance with other federal requirements. The regulations also establish special requirements for community housing development organizations (CHDOs). Project selection shall take into consideration the recommendation of the relevant regional economic development council or the Commissioner's determination that the proposed project aligns with the regional strategic priorities of the respective region.
Any private for-profit or not-for-profit entity that can demonstrate the capacity to develop and operate a qualifying project is eligible to apply for HOME project funding. Units of general local government that have not been designated by HUD as participating jurisdictions and not-for-profit corporations that meet certain administrative tests may also apply as local program administrators. Jurisdictions which receive HOME program funding directly from the federal government may not apply for New York State HOME Program funds.
All areas of the State are eligible, subject to the funding limitations described below.
HOME Program funds may only be used to assist households with incomes at or below 80 percent of area median income. Rental projects must primarily serve households with incomes at or below 60 percent of area median income. Assisted rental units must remain affordable for a period of between five and 20 years, depending on the initial amount of subsidy provided for the project.
HOME Program funds may be used to pay for acquisition, rehabilitation, construction, and certain related soft costs. Funds may also be used for relocation costs, tenant-based rental assistance, down payment and closing costs, and some administrative and planning costs, subject to limitations set forth in the federal regulations. Funds may only be used for residential housing. There are restrictions on the use of HOME funds for properties assisted by certain other federal programs. Fifteen percent of each allocation of HOME Program funds is reserved for qualified community housing development organizations (CHDO) in accordance with federal law. Of the remaining funds, a minimum of 80 percent is reserved for projects that are not located in communities that have been designated by HUD as participating jurisdictions.