FARMINGTON — City council will revisit how to spend about $99,000 in federal grant money at tonight's meeting.
The funds are leftover from the city's 2012 Community Development Block Grant allocation. The grant is part of a program sponsored by the local branch of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is geared toward assisting low-to-moderate income areas across the country.
"These are project proposals in response to a (request for proposals) we put out," said Jay Peterman, grant program director. "These are the first of three scheduled presentations to council."
Tuesday evening will focus on project proposals by Big Brothers Big Sisters, Childhaven, Four Corners Foundation, Frontline Mission, My Father's House Church, Nona Beckstead, Presbyterian Medical Services and Three Rivers Brewery.
City council briefly discussed the 2012 funds at their March 26 meeting, but tabled the decision because Councilman Jason Sandel was absent.
In the past, Community Development Block Grant funds have been used to support the Masada House, a remodel at Childhaven, fund about 90 percent of The Roof shelter, build sidewalks near Sycamore Park Community Center and McCormick Elementary School, and improve Downtown facades, Peterman said.
But projects must meet HUD standards.
"If a building's built, it has to serve a low-income purpose," Peterman said.
His department is also involved in a number of public service projects such as day care assistance for low-income students at San Juan College.
"We consider that an economic development project because it helps keep (the students) in school," Peterman said.
Farmington is one of five cities in New Mexico that receives HUD grant funds. The others are Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe.
Mayor Tommy Roberts said that council will hear the project proposals Tuesday evening, but will not likely make a decision on how to spend the leftover 2012 funds until a later date.
For Peterman, spending the 2012 funds is a footnote.
The grant program's next consolidated plan is due in 2014, he said.
"This is going to create a strategic direction for the next five years," Peterman said.
But public input is required by HUD before the plan can be put together, he said.
"We not ignoring the public," Peterman said. "It's not for us to decide what (the plan's) going to be. It's job creation, economic development, rehabilitation ... we're looking for specific ideas."
Community attendance at an open meeting at Sycamore Park Community Center on May 31 at 4 p.m. is strongly encouraged, he said.
Public input will play a large role in deciding where future grant funds are spent, Peterman said.
Roberts said that he would like to see funding for transitional housing.
And the HUD grants could play an increasingly important role in supporting a variety of social service programs in Farmington.
Under the city's preliminary budget, Childhaven, the Family Crisis Center, People Assisting the Homeless, Totah Behavioral Health and Presbyterian Medical Services could face cuts in city funding.
Community Development Block Grant funds play an important role in assisting such organizations.
"In terms of services, I really do like the idea of supplementing the budgets of some of our local nonprofits," Roberts said.
Greg Yee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4606. Follow him on Twitter @GYeeDT.