• October 20, 2014

Killeen City Council to vote tonight on block grants

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Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 4:30 am

The second, and final, public hearing for Community Development Block Grant funds is slated for tonight.

Killeen’s Community Development Advisory Committee has the annual task of determining how much in federal funds should be doled out to local organizations.

Committee Chairman Ralph Cossey said it’s a “heart-wrenching” task.

Once the committee determines how much funding should go to various organizations, it’s presented to the council and the public for input.

Tonight will be the final public hearing on how the funds are being distributed and will be followed by the council voting to approve or disapprove the committee’s recommendation.

“We take very seriously the information that the community has given us with making these recommendations,” Cossey said. “We try to align our recommendations with those requests.”

The city receives federal funds from the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program.

The federal grant program was instituted in 1974 to aid in improving physical, social and economic conditions in communities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees the funds, which are distributed to cities with a population in excess of 50,000.

For the most part, the funds benefit low- and moderate-income residents and meet community development needs.

Janell Frazier, Central Texas Community Choices in Children’s Care executive director, said the city’s support has been “incredible.”

“We have an incredible program because of (the city’s) help, especially those in the CDBG division,” she said.

Central Texas 4C operated Head Start programs are federally funded. The program serves children age 5 and younger who are at 100 percent of the poverty level.

Frazier said the children the program serves are the “most at-risk population.”

Killeen received $984,406 in CDBG funds for the 2015 fiscal year and has $48,358 in funds from the prior year for a total of a little more than $1 million to allocate to various local organizations.

Maureen Jouett, Bring Everyone in the Zone executive director, said the organization appreciates the support of the city.

“If we have people coming for peer support they get better faster, stay better longer and they go on to lead productive lives and contribute to society,” she said.

Bring Everyone in to the Zone is a nonprofit that provides peer support to service members, veterans and their families.

The city also will receive $327,980 for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and $96,633 in re-programmable funds and program income for a total of $424,613.

The HOME Program falls under Title II of the National Affordable Housing Act and is used for homeowner purchase, rehabilitation of housing for rent or ownership, for demolition or improvement to develop non-luxury housing and for tenant-based rental assistance or low-interest loans.

For the majority of the organizations vying for funding, it is essential for the continued operations in their particular programs, she said.

OTHER BUSINESS

The council is slated to vote on a more than $1.4 million purchase for the Killeen Police Department.

The purchase includes 20 new Chevrolet Tahoes at $58,000 each, for a total of $1.15 million, and a $300,000 armored tactical transport vehicle for the department’s SWAT team. The purchase is written into the fiscal year 2014 budget.

The regular council meeting is slated for 5 p.m. today in Council Chambers, 101 N. College St.

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