By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors approved CDBG funding for public improvements on incorporated areas.
Every year the State of California, Department of Housing and Community Development receives funds for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to administer the Community Development Block Grant program. Imperial County and Community and Economic Development intends to submit a grant application in the maximum amount of $4,440,000. With this approval, the County is looking to secure $2.5 million dollars for Colonias Allocation that would be used for water and wastewater improvements and housing rehabilitation. $120,000 would be used for recoat the portable water tank in Palo Verde and $550,000 for water and wastewater system improvements in Winterheaven Colonia. The Board also approved $500,000 for community cleanups in Bombay Beach and Niland.
On Feburary 2011, HUD issued a notice, which limited Colonias Allocation funds from being used for anything other than activities that directly affect water, sewage, and housing. The County was notified that this new rule would apply to future Colonias applications. However, the County was told last month that the previously awarded funds under Colonia’s Allocation for community cleanups in Bombay Beach and Niland would be rescinded due to policy changes from HUD. HCD stated that while community cleanup was ineligible under the Colonias Allocation, it would be eligible under the Community Development Allocation.
The Board also had the option to approve $100,000 to demolish and reconstruct the Heber Community Center (Set-Asise) or $100,000 to purchase equipment for Imperial County Fire Department.
Supervisor Jack Terrazas said he supported having a new Heber Community Center since the current one is in very bad conditions and its not safe for Heber residents. Supervisor Gary Waytt disagreed with Terrazas saying that its more important for the County to use these funds for the Niland Fire Department and purchase a modular for their accommodation.
ICCED Director, Esperanza Colio, said that if Heber was to have a new community center, there need to be a committed groups that runs the facility. CEO Ralph Cordova said that there have been talks to move the Sheriff Athletic League to the Heber Community Center and have them run the place. Wyatt pointed out that SAL runs on grants and the budget of the Sheriff Department is tight right now to carry the Heber Center.
Terrazas mentioned how the County is assisting Niland Fire Department but they haven’t taken over that District. After some more discussion, the Board approved the CDBG funding application.