Story by: Erin Bamer

NAMPA — A remodel for the Nampa Family Justice Center and sidewalk repairs in Nampa are among the efforts to receive a Community Development Block Grant this year.

After two special meetings, Nampa City Council voted unanimously Monday to allocate roughly $796,000 in grant funding to 13 projects. The city had to weigh $1.3 million of requests and narrow them down.

Every year, Nampa receives a CDBG grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to use for the benefit of low- and moderate-income residents.

Last year, Nampa City Council allocated about $829,000 of funding out of $940,000 in requests. Rapid rehousing programs, along with meals for seniors, park upgrades and rental assistance for domestic violence victims were among the programs that received a funding boost.

This year, of the $796,000 Nampa received for the grant program, $155,000 went toward administrative costs. That’s within the 20% cap HUD puts on administrative costs, and left about $640,000 for the city to allocate to other services.

The following is a look at this year’s grant recipients.

Nampa has a 14% cap on funding for public services, which amounts to about $111,500 this year, according to Matt Jamison, community development program administrator.

Six programs applied for CDBG public service funding, totaling over $217,000 in requests. At a previous special meeting on June 3, four services were recommended to receive funding — a Meals on Wheels program by Saint Alphonsus, Advocates Against Family Violence, CATCH of Canyon County and The Salvation Army Nampa Corps. At their Monday meeting, the recommendations changed.

Four public services were still recommended to receive funding, but the specific services and the level of funding changed. Staff increased the recommended funding for Meals on Wheels by $5,000 up to $35,000, and cut all funding for AAFV, which was previously recommended to receive $21,500. Instead, the Nampa Family Justice Center, which was recommended not to receive any funding previously, would receive $16,500.

Jamison said at the June 3 meeting, the recommendations were based on rankings from a citizens’ group, which listed Meals on Wheels as the highest priority service for funding, followed closely by AAFV, CATCH and the Salvation Army. After the meeting, he said staff considered the council’s comments on their priorities for public service funding, and made adjustments to the recommendations.

The biggest adjustment was switching funding from AAFV, a privately run organization, to the Nampa Family Justice Center, which falls under the city’s departments. Jamison said a key factor in the justice center receiving funding was because it is linked to a remodel project to the Salvation Army, which applied for non-public service funding for its remodel. He said the Salvation Army is working with the justice center to accommodate domestic violence victims in need of emergency shelter.

The Boys and Girls Club Nampa applied for $30,000 in CDBG funding, and neither staff nor the citizens group recommend allocating any money for it at either meeting.

“We need to help the Boys and Girls Club where we can, personally,” Councilman Darl Bruner said.

Bruner made a motion to follow the staff’s updated recommendations for funding, which passed unanimously.

“For those that weren’t funded, hang in there,” Mayor Debbie Kling said.

The remaining $529,000 was left for the city to allocate to applications that did not qualify under public services. Ten programs and projects applied for funding, with the overall requests totaling over $1 million.

The applications included Brush Up Nampa, a sidewalk repair program, a housing repair loan program, a remodel project for the Salvation Army, a project to remodel the Nampa Family Justice Center’s basement and five city projects to improve or repair parts of Nampa’s parks and streets.

At the June 3 meeting, staff had not given the council any recommendations on how to allocate the remaining CDBG funding for the non-public service applications. But Councilman Randy Haverfield made a proposal toward the end of the meeting to give funding to the Salvation Army, the Nampa Family Justice Center, two city projects, Brush Up Nampa and the sidewalk program.

Haverfield’s proposal would have cut funding for the housing repair loan program and three city projects — one for a local park and two for road improvements.

Because Haverfield made the proposal near the end of the meeting, Kling suggested the council hold off on a decision until a later date to give them enough time to discuss their best options. At the Monday meeting, the recommendations for how to use the remaining funds were different from Haverfield’s proposal.

Staff’s recommendations included funding for the Salvation Army, three city projects, the housing repair loan program, Brush Up Nampa and the sidewalk program. It left out funding for two city streets projects and the Nampa Family Justice Center remodel. Overall, the city would allocate about $523,000 with this plan, leaving over $5,000 unaccounted for.

However, Bruner brought up an issue with the recommendations fully funding a request to replace a shelter structure at Lions Park, which asked for $108,000. While he would support funding for some renovations to the shelter, he did not think the state of the shelter warranted a complete replacement.

Bruner made a motion offering an alternative funding allocation. He suggested instead of fully funding the shelter, the council grant funding for the Nampa Family Justice Center to remodel its basement to move several of its services that require confidentiality. The Nampa Family Justice Center’s request was for about $81,000.

Bruner’s suggestion would leave about $32,000 unaccounted for, which he proposed the city allocate for the park shelter to make renovations instead of a complete replacement. Bruner’s motion passed unanimously.

Read the original story here.