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Hughson joins county consortium for development funding

City to receive money for street repairs, housing, service providers

POSTED February 18, 2011 8:32 p.m.

The City of Hughson will now join with a consortium of urban county cities to obtain Community Development Block Grant funds from the state rather than applying on its own, following a Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors vote on Tuesday night.

The urban county group includes Stanislaus County, Ceres, Hughson, Newman, Oakdale, Patterson, Waterford and now Hughson. Modesto, Turlock, and Riverbank apply for CDBG dollars separately.

As a state Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved entitlement county, the consortium members will receive a guaranteed allocation each year. Previously, Hughson was forced to apply to the State of California each year for CDBG funds they may or may not receive.

The urban county expects to receive $2.8 million in CDBG funds in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Hughson’s share is expected to amount to approximately $171,000.

“We might have been able to get more from the state, but not everyone gets funded,” Hughson housing analyst Linda Kuiper said.

Membership in the urban county group also grants the cash-strapped City of Hughson $20,000 to use for staff salaries. The previous arrangement did not fund salaries.

In general, CDBG funds can be used for curb, gutter, sidewalk improvements, economic development and housing. Hughson expects to use its first year’s allotment to improve city infrastructure on Pine Street, including curbs, storm drains, sidewalks, Americans with Disability Act compliant curb cuts and to perform engineering analysis and design work on 4th Street improvements. The 4th Street improvements would be built with next year’s CDBG allotment.

The City of Hughson held a community meeting on Jan. 20 to discuss the city’s plan to join the urban county, but no citizens attended.

The urban county’s $2.8 million allotment will also help to finance countywide programs in fair housing, economic development, and workforce development. About $100,000 of the $2.8 million will address homelessness in the urban county, with $40,000 to be spent on rapid re-housing and $60,000 to be spent on street outreach.

“We have had homeless, and we do have homeless,” Kuiper said.

A $269,000 share of CDBG funds will go to local service providers throughout the urban county. As Hughson was able to sit on the board that allocates those funds for the first time, the city for the first time was able to secure large payouts for local providers, including $14,000 for the Hughson Family Resource Center and $15,000 for the United Samaritans Foundation Hughson food truck.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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