When: Lancaster City Council meeting, April 5.
What happened: Council was presented with a proposed five-year Community Development Block Grant plan for 2021-25 and annual action plan, which the city is required to submit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Why it matters: The plans shape the way that much of the money Lancaster receives from HUD ends up being spent. Council was told during its committee meeting that city officials expect to see about $8.37 million in block grant funding over the next five years. Also anticipated is about $710,000 in Emergency Solutions grants, which the city has traditionally used for homeless prevention and emergency shelter.
What’s next: The proposed plan goes before City Council on April 13 and then for a vote on April 27. The city must submit that plan to HUD by April 29.
More information: The entire plan and a form to submit feedback is posted at engage.cityoflancasterpa.com.
Quotable: “Right now we’re still talking about relatively small pots of funding. ... At the same time all eyes are on what the (U.S.) Treasury Secretary is going to be releasing in the next couple weeks related to affordable housing and also on the infrastructure bill that is being discussed in Washington, D.C., which includes a tremendous investment in existing low-income properties … as well as new affordable,” Mayor Danene Sorace told council.
Another plan: Council will review a proposed plan for the Lancaster Downtown Investment District Authority on April 13 and vote on April 27. Nothing changes in terms of boundaries, rates or services from the current DID plan that expires this month, said Dave Aichele, executive director of the DID. “We want to basically operate for the next two years to really get a good handle on what impact COVID has had on a lot of our property owners and our businesses downtown before we even think about expansions of our downtown boundaries,” Aichele said.
Also: Council heard two possible options — a bank note or a general obligation bond issue — for securing about $1.1 or $1.2 million in additional funding for construction of the East and West King Street fire stations. Council will likely vote on one of those options later this month. City Business Manager Patrick Hopkins said a roughly $1.3 million contingency fund is being set up, largely for the East King Street station project, expected to start this summer.
And finally: Council heard from these nominees to the Lancaster City Planning Commission: Nicole Seuffert, director of client services at RLPS Architects; Miriam Ortega Brown, reading specialist for the School District of Lancaster; Maxine Cook, program assistant at Lincoln University; David Boehm, operations specialist with Foreign Trade Zone Corp.; and Michaela Allwine, housing program manager for the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority. Their nominations now advance to City Council for a vote.