Public hearing hosted for community block grant action plan, scheduled for budget

NILES — The Niles City Council met virtually on Monday evening. The council set aside time prior to the meeting to allow for public comment on the program year 2020 Community Development Block Grant Action Plan. The council later voted to purchase 90 utility poles for the city.

The council also voted to schedule a public hearing 6 p.m. Aug. 10 to receive public comment on the proposed financial year 2021 city of Niles budget.

Prior to the start of the regular Niles city council meeting on Monday evening, a public hearing was hosted to receive public comment on the proposed program year 2020 Community Development Block Grant Action Plan. No public comment was received by the council.

The Community Development Block Grant program is a grant program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the HUD website, the grants are to be allocated to “develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment and expand economic opportunities for low- to moderate-income persons.”

The residents in communities receiving such a grant must have access to and ability to comment on community action plans.

According to the executive summary of the program year 2020 Annual Action Plan draft for the Community Development Block Grant Program, available on the Niles city website, the funding available to Niles remains around $275,000 per year.

“The funds notably provide the city the opportunity to run an excellent code enforcement program, as well as offer increased access to public services for youth, the homeless and impoverished,” the summary said.

Active goals for the block grant included in the draft are: “support public services for youth and ELI persons, provide adequate LMI area infrastructure, blight elimination, historic preservation, support fair housing practices and support public facilities through installation or rehab.”

During the city council meeting, the council voted to accept the bid of $35,763 from A. Meredith Schneider, of East Point, Georgia, for the purchase of 90 utility poles.

“The electric division’s utility pole stock is low and required replenishing due to many recent projects and poles being damaged,” said the item report. “Additionally, there are several upcoming projects that will require the use of these poles, including installation of new netting poles for Thomas Stadium.”

The council unanimously passed the purchase.

During council members reports, council member Jessica Nelson and council member Daniel VandenHeede reminded constituents of the primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Council member Georgia Boggs reminded meeting attendees about filling out and submitting Census forms.

“Everyone needs to make sure that everyone they meet up with has their Census sent in,” Boggs said.

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