MV council of governments hears about county programs|
Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Wendy Lynn Brion Staff Writer Jodi Brennan, director of county planning and development, spoke to members of Moshannon Valley Council of Governments last night about some programs the county is offering to help municipalities deal with blighted structures.
The first program she talked about is through the state Housing Finance Agency, which was set up by the Pennsylvania Housing and Affordability Enhancement fund, and this is funded through Act 13 money, which is money collected from the state gas well impact fee. The goal is to make housing available or to rehabilitate housing.
When Clearfield County received funding through this project the decision was made to use it for blight mitigation in the form of dollar-for-dollar matched grants.
Municipalities must apply for the money, up to $10,000, and use the land for housing. Brennan said she has seen partnerships between municipalities and developers and nonprofit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity. A blighted structure can either be demolished and a new structure put in place, or the structure can be rehabilitated.
She said 30 percent of the funds have to serve low-income residents. Applications are available now and there is no deadline. Brennan distributed copies of the application and said it is a simple one-page form that can be faxed into the planning office. She suggested municipalities submit their top priority projects first.
Two other grant programs were also discussed by Brennan. The first is a residential owner occupied grant to help people fix serious problems with their homes.
The other is for rental structures based on the renter's income. The catch is that the landlord must make the housing available to low-income families for seven years.
The MVCOG agreed to administer both of these programs and there is funding available to help cover administrative costs for the COG.
Brennan also noted there are Community Development Block Grant funds available to deal with structures and noted Bigler Township's success with using funding to help demolish the Madera School.
In other matters, the COG also discussed the matter of a quorum. In June, only a couple of members showed up and it was decided to cancel the meeting for lack of a quorum and research exactly what constitutes a quorum for MVCOG. Secretary Lorie Rowles said she checked the bylaws and a quorum is five different municipalities. Some municipalities send more than one representative to meetings, so it has to be different municipalities to qualify as a quorum. Often COG has barely a minimum quorum for meetings although there are 38 member municipalities.
The board also discussed the equipment show held in May. Rowles said it was their most successful one yet and she even had a vendor call at the last minute and ask to participate because they had been told by another vendor what a good show MVCOG has.
Next year's show will be May 27 at the Clearfield Driving Park. It will be the 10th equipment show and COG is looking for ideas for vendors, trainings and other activities. There was also talk of doing something to thank vendors who have participated every year. "Without the vendors, we don't have a show," said Chairman Ken Voris. PJ Patterson agreed, adding that he has been told the vendors really like the show and they get a lot of leads.
The COG also voted to send Rowles and two other members to the PACOG show Sept. 12-13 and pay expenses as well.
Rowles reported the committee discussed suggestions made concerning the property maintenance program and then turned the matter over to the solicitor. She said they would like to have it up and running soon to coincide with the rehabilitation programs.
MVCOG was featured in the summer newsletter for PACOG and members received photocopies of the article.
The next meeting is Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the 911 Center.