June 4, 2020

Public invited to comment on block grant, CARES Act plans

BATAVIA, OH (June 4, 2020) — Public comments will be accepted June 4-8 on the Community Development Block Grant 2020-2024 Five Year Consolidated Plan, 2020 Annual Action Plan and Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Plan. The plans propose allocation of $974,086 in block grant funds and $573,023 in CARES Act funding.

The plan will be available here: https://clermontcountyohio.gov//community-development/ and in the third-floor lobby at 101 E. Main St. in Batavia. Comments may be made via website, email (scmar@clermontcountyohio.gov), voice mail (513-732-7907) or letter (101 E. Main St, 3rd Floor, Batavia, OH 45103).

A public meeting is scheduled for Board of County Commissioners meeting on June 10, where the Commissioners will adopt the plans and pass a resolution for the President of the Board to sign all documents required by HUD for submission. The plan will be to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on or before June 25.

Clermont County Grants Coordinator Sherri Cmar told the Commissioners on May 27 that 11 project proposals, totaling more than $500,000 over allocation of $974,086 had been received.

Cmar recommended funding nine projects, with a deficit of $103,613, which will be more-than covered from program income and allocated funds for projects that did not take place in prior years

Recommended projects include: turn lanes for U.S. 50 in Owensville ($189,147) and Charles Snider Road ($217,779) in Goshen Township. to enhance economic development; Franklin Township for community building improvements ($79,259), Village of New Richmond for August Street improvements ($103,500), Batavia Township to bring former Amelia maintenance facility up to code ($76,679), People Working Cooperatively for home repairs ($50,000), Housing Opportunities Made Equal for fair housing ($15,000), CASC for drug and alcohol counseling ($71,000), and Clermont County Public Health for septic system rehab ($100,000).

Recommended CARES Act $573,023 projects include: an additional allocation to PWC, $50,000 for homeowner repairs; Senior Services, $55,000 for homeowner repairs for seniors and HOME, $25,000 for fair housing services. The remaining funds will be placed in an UNMet needs gap fund and will help to cover costs related to COVID-19 services.

Consultant Paul Lippens of McKenna gave the Commissioners an overview about the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan and Assessment of Fair Housing. The plan documents needs and demands for affordable housing with the most current data and summarizes funding and programming strategies for providing affordable housing.

Five years ago, Clermont County became an Entitlement Community and became eligible for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rather than through the state. This increased allocations to the Clermont County Community by over 50 percent. Currently, Clermont County CDBG is allocating $974,086 annually and an estimated $4.97 million for the 5-year plan is projected.

Clermont County CARES Act funds of $573,023 for 2020-2021 must benefit low-and-moderate income persons in Clermont County and must follow all CDBG project guidelines. Grantees may use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for a range of eligible activities that prevent and respond to the spread of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus.

Clermont County has, over the past year, reviewed prior projects, gaining understanding of housing needs, and developed new priorities for the 2020-2024 plan by meeting with community leaders, service providers and residents in focus groups and public forums. The Citizen Participation Plan has been updated due to COVID-19 to include online meetings during emergencies (Facebook Live, Zoom, etc.) and comments via email, voice messaging and USPS.