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02-13-1997PH Dst5CITY OF LAS CRUCES NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING NOTES REGARDING FEDERAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) AND HOME FUNDS ALLOCATIONS FOR FISCAL YEARS 1996 -97 AND 1997 -98 Thursday, February 13, 1997 Jornada Elementary School Library Councilor Tomlin - District 5 Councilor Tomlin welcomed the 61 people to the meeting at 7:00 p.m. and expressed his appreciation to them for taking the time to attend. (An attendance roster is attached.) He indicated that he wanted to talk about the Casto proposal first and the allocation of the FY 97- 98 monies second. The Councilor read his January 31, 1997, memorandum that was sent to the Mayor and other City Councilors to the audience. In summary, Councilor Tomlin said that he had serious concerns about the loan proposal for Casto Travel using CDBG funds and would not support the staff proposal. (A copy of his memorandum is attached.) He requested a "straw" vote from the audience on the proposal. All members of the audience voted against the staff proposal in the "straw" vote. Members of the audience wanted to ask questions about the staff proposal. Councilor Tomlin said he would answer the questions to the best of his knowledge. Woman: A woman had concerns about the process that was being used to reallocate funds and felt it was not being handled properly. Councilor: He described the normal process for the allocation of funds. He indicated that normally the CDBG Advisory Committee would make recommendations to the City Council on the allocation of funds. To his knowledge, the Committee had not seen the proposal and therefore no recommendation had come to the Council. Man: Councilor was asked to explain the proposal as he understood it. Councilor: He described the proposal generally. However, he said that no contract had come to the Council. He indicated that Federal requirements would have to be met. Man: A man was holding what he said was a draft contract between the City and Casto. The man said it looked like a "sweetheart deal'. The jobs will not help the community, but hurt in his opinion. Councilor: He said that he had not seen the draft contract. Woman: A lady said that it appeared that this activity had been done "under the table ". She said that other applicants have to submit applications and follow the prescribed process. She questioned if there were other industries and how other requests for funds would be handled. r . Councilor: He said that reallocation of funds had been done in the past on traditional items like street improvements. He wanted the audience to know that it is not unusual except that in this case, this is the first time money would be spent on economic development activity. Man: Will we establish a precident that will lead to policies and a program where economic development will start being funded? The man made reference to El Paso and MCI and said that sounded like a reasonable deal. Woman: Large commercial firms, e.g., Target, are coming and are not asking for money. Councilor: He said that he would be voting against the proposal and is concerned about what City staff is doing. He indicated that there were many issues to be considered; e.g., what incentives do you establish, what criteria is used to decide who to give money to? The issues have not been settled and no policies or program is in place to provide direction to staff. He expressed concern about the City's investment in and commitment to the West Mesa Industrial Park. He agreed with a statement that formal policy needs to be in place to stop requests on a case by case basis. Man: A man had a number of questions about the Casto proposal; e.g., lack of information, what has transpired, the number of jobs to be provided and pay, what is Casto putting into this. This matter is larger than just using CDBG funds. Woman: A woman said that a company moves because that is where the CEO wants to live. She asked if there would be other meetings. She suggested the need for an investigation because of possible criminal activity. Councilor: He indicated that there would be a meeting on February 20 that would be Citywide in addition to the district meetings like this one. Woman: She expressed concern about the collateral. She made the statement that the building is not worth the cost. She questioned the amount of research that had been done on the Company and proposal. Councilor: He indicated that even if the proposal made it past the City Council that a contract would still have to be approved by the City Council. If the contract was not approved, the money would not be reprogrammed. Philosophically, do you want to use CDBG money for this proposal and economic development? Man: CDBG funds should be used for community improvements, housing and projects that assist very low to moderate income people directly. City Council should set policy and establish the program, otherwise forget citizen support. Woman: A woman said that the project had been worked on for awhile. Mr. Ericson is too busy to solicit industry. Councilor: He indicated that we do have the Industrial Park that we want to develop. Mr. Dearing with the Mesille Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA) and others are the ones that are more involved with soliciting the acceptable industry. We probably respond much more to inquiries than actually solicit. Woman: We have enough travel agencies. Beef up local businesses, fix up the City and do those things that draw in good businesses. Woman: She was glad that people are interested in economic development because of our low income, etc. Improved human services, public improvements, and affordable housing are what we need. Woman: How many jobs will Casto bring in? How many jobs will be lost? Councilor: Generally, how many are in favor of reprogramming CDBG funds? One was in favor and 53 were opposed in the "straw" vote. (Some people may not have voted. At this time, some people had left the meeting.) Do you support economic development, with qualifications? All still in attendance (about 55) were supportive. He gave examples of types of projects CDBG money has been used for in the past. He said that his District was not eligible, generally. Do we want to continue funding traditional projects; e.g., public services, infrastructure, housing? Do you want to set aside CDBG money for economic development activities? He and the group feel that CDBG monies should be spent on traditional activities. He said that he felt it was more effective for social service agencies to be contracted with by the City than for the City to get into that business. Woman: How is MVEDA funded? Councilor: They receive funding from the City, County, private and other sources. A question is it adequate? Woman: CDBG funds have been used for economic development activities in other cities, but not the entire allocation. Councilor: How many of you want to set aside some CDBG money for economic development - an incentive program? Eight were in favor and 32 opposed the set aside in the "straw" vote. (Some did not vote probably because, as was expressed during the vote, it would depend on the program, plan and policies.) Councilor Tomlin said that regardless of the source of funds, we need a program and policies. There are a lot of questions, e.g., how much do you give away to get a company. In any case, the City's activities need to be more consistent and focused. Councilor Tomlin thanked the citizens for attending and sharing their views. He closed the meeting at about 9:00 p.m. Neighborhood Meeting - February 13, 1997, Jornada Elementary School 0/ d / NAME ADDRESS ate- -4 76 ► l� 17 C l , I- tcz t.�Q /n - _ r *(ac r> Cr7 c iU KAJ6&- a. 14 L "_ - gcn6 s L � a 8aa c rt �ic�7i.G! % ��✓ �¢'�� , ��. �'' acts -C_ 0/ d / Neighborhood Meeting - February 13, 1997, Jornada Elementary School NAME ADDRESS S .7 ` 337 tc��5�2/ 4-o oj— V��-AL&u D to f - L) Zee O J Cp CQ Lt h T-UYA �s�5c7 c ��flo 3.�, r . x`005" Neighborhood Meeting - February 13, 1997, Jornada Elementary School N E ADDRESS V7, W6 LI o 1 VP/�.L)Ab7- O . N�cl�l.il,lcw• 3�1 �w+ost��a BO a S /2--1 January 31, 1997 From: Councillor Tomlin hN To: Mayor and City Council Subject: Casto Travel I have several concerns about the Casto Travel funding proposal. First, I am opposed to staff's proposal to use CDBG monies in a loan package for Casto Travel. I do not feel it is an appropriate use of these funds. I base this on the historical approach we have taken in programming these monies. The proposal will take money from programs and services being provided directly to those who qualify, and that's a major change in policy, and one which I am unwilling to make considering the needs in the community that are met using these resources. Secondly, I think it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to monitor the appropriate use of these funds to make sure we are meeting HUD guidelines. The problems associated with monitoring are too troublesome to warrant their use in this case. Finally, I am concerned that the shifting of monies that are already programmed willbe considered a "breech of contract" on our part. For the sake of the CDBG program's credibility, I think we should honor our commitments to the community. In addition, a major policy shift of this nature should not be made without public input. The responses received indicate that there is no support for such a move. In short, I will not support the loan proposal for Casto Travel using CDBG funds. I have serious concerns about such loans using any public monies. It is a major policy issue that should be discussed before considering a specific request of this nature. *This is a revised version correcting a spelling error contained in the original document.