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Farmington considers distribution of CDBG funds
Council voices support for funding service projects
FARMINGTON — Farmington officials are debating how to spend $358,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding it could receive from the federal government.
Community planner Cindy Lopez said each year between February and April, the city receives a letter from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development office that informs the city how much its CDBG allocation will be for the federal fiscal year.
But because of changes at the federal government, the city did not receive the letter until last week.
Even so, the city must still have an action plan for the funds prepared by Aug. 16 or it could lose its allocation, Lopez told the City Council during a Tuesday meeting.
In the past, the city has used 20 percent of the CDBG funds to pay for administrative costs, 15 percent to pay for service projects requested by various nonprofits and 65 percent to pay for capital projects. The city had the option of not spending the funds on the service projects and instead using 80 percent of the money for capital projects.
During its meeting Tuesday, the City Council voiced support for the service projects.
"I would like to leave it at the 15 percent because I feel that what they do get is very important and valuable to them," Councilor Gayla McCulloch said.
The city will ask nonprofit organizations to submit requests for project funding. In the past, the funds have been used for improvements at the Sycamore Park Community Center, a homeless shelter and Northwest New Mexico Seniors.
In addition, the city is also considering funding some capital projects with CDBG money. There are currently four projects on the list, including the downtown Farmington Complete Streets projects, upgrading several parking lots, improving sidewalks near the Farmington Civic Center and expanding the teen area at the Farmington Boys & Girls Clubs.
Last year, the city received about $369,000 in CDBG funds, and in 2015 the city received about $348,000.
The City Council will choose which projects to fund using CDBG money during its July 11 meeting.
In other business, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution urging residents to be responsible with fireworks during the holidays.
The city has the authority to ban fireworks only under certain conditions. State statute requires that certain drought conditions to be met, according to Fire Chief Terry Page.
He said drought conditions take a long time to change. While the city currently is experiencing high fire danger, it has a low drought rating.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.