As you may have noticed from the picture or the byline, your intrepid city reporter Jen Fifield has moved on ... to the county and state politics beat. I’ll be sliding in to give you all the latest city happenings, decisions and of course, the downtown walk-arounds.

As an area newcomer (straight from the beaches of little Rhode Island) and a typical reporter, I’m always hungry for more information, so call, email or tweet at me anytime.

County funding for community action agency

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak wants the county to contribute more money toward the Frederick Community Action Agency. As she pointed out during agency director Mike Spurrier’s budget presentation Wednesday, the agency provides services to residents of the entire county, not just the city.

County Executive Jan Gardner has included $75,000 in funding for the agency’s housing initiatives in her 2016 budget proposal, the same amount the agency received from the county the previous two years.

But this seems like a small amount compared to the city’s funding for the agency, about $2.77 million in the proposed 2016 budget. And for city residents, who pay both city and county taxes, Kuzemchak called this a case of “serious double dipping.”

Kuzemchak said she plans to advocate for the agency to receive more county funding, which Spurrier said is always welcome.

Possible changes to City Housing Fund on the horizon

In the same meeting, the board discussed possible changes to how it uses the money from the fees charged to developers who chose not to include the requisite number of moderately priced housing units in their developments.

Right now, the money from the fees — $16,000 per unit of moderately priced housing — goes into the City Housing Fund, which is managed by the community action agency. The money is intended to support affordable and subsidized community housing projects.

But the amounts on both sides of the equation are difficult to estimate, said Spurrier. The slow-moving nature of development projects, both those that pay the fees and those that would receive the funding, makes it hard to know when the money will go in and come out of the fund.

In this fiscal year, for example, the city collected about $757,000 in fees, but several of the affordable housing projects to which it planned to distribute the money — the senior apartments in the Motter Square building and a development planned by the Way Station, to name two — are not quite “shovel ready.”

And this will probably be the case for years to come, Spurrier said, since development projects usually progress slowly.

Whether changes involve repurposing the funds, raising the fees or some other changes to the ordinance, the aldermen agreed they will revisit the issue in future meetings.

Change to budget hearing schedule

The city is less than one month away from adopting its fiscal 2016 budget, and is making one change to the remaining public hearings to discuss the budget.

The city’s elected officials will meet at 3 p.m. May 11 to talk about the budget, instead of at 3 p.m. May 13.

All budget hearings take place at the city’s annex building at 140 W. Patrick St. The remaining hearings are at 7 p.m. May 6, 3 p.m. May 11 and 7 p.m. May 19. The aldermen are set to approve the city’s budget and tax rate at 7 p.m. May 21 at the board room in City Hall.

Staff writer Jen Fifield contributed to this report.

Nancy Lavin can be reached at 240-215-8675 or nlavin@newspost.com.

Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @Nancy_Lavin228.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

(9) comments

quemzeee2

We continue to see persons, young and old alike, who no longer go to the E.R for treatments or concerns who now all go to the comunity action agency. Like it or not, somebody has to pick this price up.
There has been a noted shift in the amount of undocumented persons going towards comunity action agency.
Please dont bother with the negative comments about this. This is simply the way it now is.

HappyMedium

Why is housing for the disabled always one bedroom apartments.

You know people who are disabled have families too.

joelp77440

Uh? You know that is only partially true, right. Stop making up lies to fit your own narrative. Yes, disabled dedicated apartments, let's say out of new apartment complex, has to save 10% (depending on state and county) that are handicapped accessible. Now, that usually leaves usually just 1 bedrooms but Section 8 allows people with disabilities to take their voucher wherever or pool that with lets says a wife/husbands earnings to get a larger place. I must have placed over a hundred people and there families in this area and rarely ran into trouble with families. Usually because most people were single and we would always run out of single bedroom apartments.

FrederickFan

Do City taxpayers really pay $2.77 million to the Community Action Agency (CAA), or is all of that money actually federal and state grants? If you exclude grants coming from other governments, what is the city actually paying to the CAA?

Has Alderwoman Kuzemchak discussed this topic with County Executive Gardner?

What did CE Gardner have to say when this reporter called her about this article?

Has the CAA asked the County for additional money?

If by "intrepid" we mean a reporter who didn't check the numbers, talk to any of the people or even the agency involved, then yes, "intrepid" works.

joelp77440

The 2.77 million, to answer all your questions is yes all the one that you mentioned above (state, federal, foundations, charitable contributions,etc.)

hazel

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak should go to Shreve, Delauter and Chmelik and ask them for more money.

dcg326

Free again Money every where ??H OH tax payer again, no mercyMany new homes,new tax dollars, spend it Donna and Jan our spenders

barbaradean8

????

HappyMedium

So whatever came of the $1 million the county gave to Habitat for Humanity.

Are people knocking down the door to buy a house without the land.

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