Citizens District Council Minutes 06-01-2010

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                                      MINUTES
Citizen’s District Council Meeting
City of Muskegon CDBG
Conference Room 203
Muskegon, Michigan
Tuesday, June 1, 2010


CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Pat Montney at 5:40 p.m.

ROLL CALL

Roll call was taken by Liz Parker.

Present:             Patricia Montney, Ned Carter, Rasheedah Gillespie-Muhammad,
                     Virgie Jackson, Thomas Pastoor, Amy Varnado

Absent:              Tiffany Seals, Stephen Gawron

Excused:             Addie Sanders-Randall

Staff Present:       Wilmern Griffin, Liz Parker

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Ned Carter made a motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting (April 14, 2010).
Tom Pastoor seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS

         CDBG/HOME Application Revisions
Pat Montney started the discussion stating the first page of the applications should show
exactly how much the agency is applying for, a short summary of what their project is and
how many people they intend on helping. Tom Pastoor asked if all the information asked
for on the application is required. Wil Griffin advised they are all required by HUD. Pat
said it would be easier to see how many are being served vs. the percentage. Wil said
they need to have the percentages to show what is low/mod being assisted. Rasheedah
Gillespie-Muhammad asked about a statement so the CDC can see if the agency is
complying with the specifications of the grant. Wil explained the application process: the
agency first submits the application; all the applications are reviewed by him to make sure
they are in compliance for the grant as a public service organization; the proposal books
are then assembled, delivered and the grant review process begins. Amy Varnado asked
about Muskegon Main Street, since that was questionable. Wil said since their award was
under $10,000 they do not have to submit proof of providing one job; however, they must
provide the demographics and additional information in the quarterly reports. This was
one organization that needed further research. Pat Montney and others said they did not
mind reading the narrative as it gave a lot of information. The group said basically they
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would like a cover sheet with the vital information the CDC wants: name, address and
contact for the agency, a short summary of the project and the number of people who will
be assisted by the grant and amount being requested. Tom said it looks like the first two
narrative questions in the application give a lot of information. Ned Carter said it would
help to spell out some of the acronyms/abbreviations one time and then refer to them in
their short version such as MFI. Wil asked the group to email their suggestions to Liz
Parker. She will then come up with a prototype for the next meeting.

NEW BUSINESS

         HOME – Sale of 214 Myrtle
Wil Griffin announced they have a buyer for the home at 214 Myrtle. It is the McPherson
family, which includes the parents and two daughters. Mr. McPherson works for the City of
Grand Haven. Wil said his coming to Muskegon to live makes a positive statement about
Muskegon. Wil said the closing should be in about two weeks. The selling price was
$74,500. Wil said it’s difficult to determine when a home will sell. Besides the economy, it
all boils down to what a person wants. He is hopeful the drought is over and that real
estate will pick back up. He has brought in a real estate agent to help sell the other home
for sale: 1581 Division.

          NSP Program
Work has begun on the projects: 134 E. Isabella and 627 E. Apple should be completed in
90 days; 428 W Forest and 1331 Amity in 120 days and 1201 Ransom in 180 days. The
house at 1331 Amity will be ADA accessible on the first floor. 940 Wood will also be sold
through a realtor and we have already had interest in that home. Ned Carter asked if all
the homes will be owner-occupied and Wil said yes. The demolitions that will take place
are: 525 Orchard, 461 Marquette, 71 E. Grand, 370 Catherine, 1381 7th, 1464 6th, 1668
Hoyt, 1680 Hoyt, 1189 Terrace, 299 E. Isabella, 1387 7th and 531 Orchard. MSHDA is
requiring asbestos inspections and bids for abatement before they can be demolished. Wil
already has bids for the demolitions and asbestos inspections and abatement bids are
being done. Tom Pastoor asked about 1500 Leahy. Wil said that will be started in the
next phase and it will be rehabbed. Ned Carter thought it might be a Frank Lloyd Wright
home because of the flat roof and corner windows. Wil said the demolitions and rehabs
were being done first and new construction would come later. 1381 7th and 1387 7th are
being demolished. Both properties, even combined, are too small to build on and there are
no neighbors to sell the lots to. Wil got together with the Nelson Neighborhood
Improvement Association and Michigan Extension to start the creation of a Peace Garden.
It will not have produce, only flowers, dedicated to neighborhood unity and peace. It will
be on the corner of 7th and Merrill. Urban communities have to do some downsizing.
There are a lot of vacant houses and we don’t have the residents to buy these houses.
1668 Hoyt is a non-buildable lot and the neighbor has seven children. If they get this lot
for $1, it would mean a larger lot of the kids. Wil tries to do this whenever he can.
Unfortunately, there are some lots, such as 7th Street where there are no neighbors to take
over the lots; so he is trying some creative things with the neighborhood associations.

        CDBG-R White Avenue Project
Wil Griffin advised this project has started. White Avenue is one of the few streets not
paved in the City. Two people have been employed by the contractor for road
construction. Wil said that the contractors for the current NSP projects are also each
getting two workers from MichWorks. They tried to get as many Muskegon residents as
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possible. Rasheedah Gillespie-Muhammad asked about the Getty Street construction sign
(Getty Street from Apple to Marquette) that was up and has now been taken down. Wil
said as far as he knew they were going to do the Getty project. Wil said he would contact
Engineering for an update. Rasheedah said there is a big pothole on Getty right off of
Apple. Pat Montney advised calling DPW for all pothole sightings.

         Third Annual Muskegon Unity Academic Olympics
Wil Griffin announced this year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, August 28. It is for 1st
through 8th grade Muskegon public School students to promote education, show the kids
how important the community thinks it is for them to reach their academic potential and it
helps them prepare for the MEAP Test. The focus is on math; mechanical skills such as
electrical current and plumbing traps; English; technology via computers that have wifi
capability on the field. Muskegon Public Schools helped with activities by getting him
Study Island, a program the students used to get help during the school year. It’s
important the communities illustrate the students are doing well to attract employers. Wil
said he is also looking for volunteers and donations. He said the Muskegon Public
Schools might be able to get some funding for this event through 21st Century. Ned Carter
asked about the Nancy Poppin Fund, which is arts and music oriented. Wil advised he has
met with her at the Community Foundation but they couldn’t see where they could help
him. He is getting help from the ME Davenport Foundation and hopes to get a grant from
the Consumer’s Energy Foundation, which helped out in 2008. Its difficult getting funds as
past supporters, such as Sappi, are no longer in business. The economy is having an
effect on finances. Ned suggested Wil contact Jackson-Merkey as they are Muskegon
based. Wil said attorneys Williams Hughes, & Cook are very supportive. Tom Pastoor
asked about the budget. Wil advised it is about $13,000, with the biggest expense being
the renting of tables and chairs. It was suggested that churches lend out tables and chairs.
Wil said the problem is the volume they need and also set-up has to be provided. He has
used the County Work-release program for set-up in the past. Tom asked where the
money comes from. Wil said some comes from CDBG Administration funds, but the bulk
is from donations and grants.

        Five-year Consolidated Plan
Wil Griffin had a handout of the submission guidelines so the group could see what an
extensive project this plan is. The goals and objectives of the CNS office, through HUD
funds, are determined by this plan. He plans on having meetings, starting in July. The
new Fair Housing study will be a part of the plan. A new study will probably be done in
2012. Pat Montney asked why the study included Muskegon Heights and Norton Shores.
Wil explained it was for financial reasons so the three communities split the cost.

        Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair
For the position of Chair, Tom Pastoor motioned for Pat Montney to be the Chair and
Virgie seconded the motion. Amy Varnado said Pat has a lot of history, knows about the
Fair Housing, etc. and no one else has that information and she is appreciative of it.
Rasheedah Gillespie-Muhammad said there would be a vacuum if Pat left and there
should be a way to pass on the knowledge. Pat said the only way to learn is by doing the
homework, which means getting on the internet to HUD’s website and reading everything.
When Wil mentions something new, she researches it. That’s the only way she gained the
knowledge. Rasheedah wanted to know what Pat is going to do to mentor the next Chair
or how she plans to pass on the knowledge. Tom Pastoor said Wil’s handouts are always
a great help to gain knowledge of what is required. Wil Griffin said Pat has institutional
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knowledge; she is not confrontational but has a strong backbone. He said this group
represents the opinions of the residents of the community. Your input and pressure help
the City Commission make decision of what you’ve proposed. Rasheedah suggested
holding off the elections until there were more people in attendance. Pat said a quorum
was in attendance and the By-laws state this has to be done by June. Steve Gawron, who
was not present, can’t vote as he is just a liaison to the City Commission. The only two
members not present were Addie Sanders-Randall (excused) and Tiffany Seals (absent).
The motioned passed unanimously for Pat Montney as Chair. For Vice Chair, Amy
Varnado said she is willing to continue if her peers support her. Tom Pastoor made the
motion for Amy Varnado to be the Vice Chair. Virgie Jackson seconded the motion. The
motion passed unanimously.

OTHER BUSINESS

        Emergency Repair Program
Wil Griffin said the Emergency Repair Program is now accepting applications. If they know
of someone who needs assistance, they can contact Samantha Ferguson at 724-6968.
Amy Varnado asked if there was a waiting list from last year. Wil said there is, but they did
make referrals to MOCAP and DHS.

        Vinyl Siding Program
Wil Griffin announced that the Vinyl Siding Program is open again because not everyone
who originally applied qualified. If they know of someone who needs siding assistance,
they can contact Samantha Ferguson at 724-6968. Rasheedah Gillespie-Muhammad
asked if there was a paint program. Wil explained there was before 1992; but with the new
guidelines regarding lead, the program became cost prohibited. For the Vinyl Siding
Program, the CNS office verifies the total family income, that it is owner-occupied, taxes
and insurance are current and that the house is made of old clapboard, fiberglass,
asbestos or can’t hold paint any longer. The maximum income is 65% of Area Median
Income.

       Conflict of Events for August and November Meetings
The August meeting, scheduled for August 3, is also Election Day and National Night Out.
The group decided not to have a meeting until September. At that time they will discuss
the November meeting, which is scheduled for November 2, which also is Election Day.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 7, at 5:30 p.m. in conference room 203.

ADJOURNMENT

Pat Montney adjourned the meeting at 6:59 p.m.

Respectively submitted,

Liz Parker
Community and Neighborhood Services
City of Muskegon



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