Council to consider distribution of housing assistance funds : Transportation , Street improvement project also to be considered


March 23, 2009 6:35 AM
The Carpinteria City Council tonight will vote on whether to award a contract to Berry General Engineering to construct the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Trail and whether to approve a slate of transportation and street improvement projects for fiscal year 2009-10.

The Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall at 5775 Carpinteria Ave. The meeting is expected to adjourn at about 7:30 p.m.

In addition to the regular board meeting, representatives from Carpinteria Beautiful will make a presentation about Carpinteria Beautiful Month and Reusable Bag Month, which are both observed in April.

On Monday, the Council will vote on whether to award a $214,554 construction contract to Berry General Engineering to install about 2,200 lineal feet of a multipurpose trail along Carpinteria Avenue between Bailard Avenue and Carpinteria City Hall. The nature trail project “is a right-of-way improvement project intended to better serve pedestrians and bicyclists traveling between residential neighborhoods to the east and shopping and schools to the west,” according to a staff report prepared by Matthew Roberts, Parks and Recreation director. This trail project has been in design and waiting for funding for several years, according to the report.
It states:

“Main project features include a 10-foot-wide stabilized decomposed granite trail of approximately 2,200 feet in length, the installation of an irrigation water line with connection points to allow seasonal irrigation of landscaping, the installation of native plants and seed mixes in a near roadway bioswale and the placement of local sandstone boulders to serve as benches. The project will complete a key component of trail system on the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve.”
According to Mr. Roberts’ report, the project is being funded through a grant from the government, and some state funds are expected to supplement the project. Berry General Engineering, which is currently completing a project on the Carpinteria Middle School Sports Field, made the lowest bid for the project.

The Council will also vote on whether to adopt Measure D local projects for upcoming fiscal year 2009-10, which starts July 1, 2009. According to a staff report written by Charles W. Ebeling of the Public Works Department, the city is required to prepare and adopt a five-year capital expenditure program for Measure D tax revenues. Measure D is scheduled to sunset in 2010. Subsequently, this year’s expenditure program will be a one-year plan.
“This year’s program of local projects is similar to last year’s program … The revenue estimate total … assumes a decrease of approximately 10 percent due to current economic conditions,” said Mr. Ebeling.

The slate of transportation and street improvement projects the Council will be voting on will include general street maintenance, such as asphalt overlays and pavement rehabilitation; miscellaneous concrete repairs, which is the removal and replacement of deteriorated curb, gutter and sidewalks throughout the city; local transit assistance, which accounts for the city’s contract with Easy Lift for local transit assistance; MTD electric shuttle, which is the city’s share of the annual operating costs of two electric shuttles that were approved as part of the South Coast Transit Plan; bikeway improvements and maintenance, which is for general maintenance on the city’s bikeways; and street tree trimming and planting.

According to Mr. Ebeling, the estimated Measure D local apportionment for the upcoming fiscal year is $719,313. Although the Measure D program will sunset in 2010, Measure A, which extends the county-wide half-cent sales tax for transportation for 30 years, will become effective the day after Measure D expires.

At the Council meeting, councilmembers will also be asked to consider reserving city funds from the HOME Consortium of Santa Barbara County and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Entitlement Funds to Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Corp.’s Dahlia Court Expansion Project and the Chapel Court Rehabilitation Project.

According to Jackie Campbell, director of the Community Development Department, the county HOME Consortium was formed in 1990 to increase the supply of affordable housing for low- and very-low income families.
Members of the HOME Consortium include Santa Barbara County, Buellton, Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Maria and Solvang. Recommendations for reservations of funds for affordable housing projects are made by a steering committee, which is scheduled to meet on April 1.

Carpinteria entered into an agreement with the county for participation in the CDBG program in 2006 to gain urban county status along with the cities of Lompoc, Buellton and Solvang. The agreement was accepted by the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD), making the city eligible to receive CDBG funds for activities directed toward revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development and providing improved community services and facilities, said Ms. Campbell.
The City Council has full authority over how its funds are allocated on an annual basis for the three-year term of the agreement. Last summer, said Ms. Campbell, HUD extended the urban county status permanently.

“As a qualified program, we can expect to continue to receive federal funds into the future through our cooperation agreement with the county and Lompoc, Buellton and Solvang,” she said.

Two applications to reserve funds from the city under both the HOME and CDBG programs were received in December 2008: one from Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Corp. for the Dahlia Court Apartments expansion in the amount of $400,000 and another one from the organization for rehabilitation of the Chapel Court housing development in the amount of $50,000.

Peoples’ has submitted a request for $64,000 in HOME funds and $49,000 in CDBG funds to continue preliminary planning and property acquisition related to the future development of an underdeveloped one-acre parcel of land at 1200 Santa Ynez Ave., between the Dahlia Court Apartments and Highway 101, she said. Future development of the Dahlia Court site would include construction of approximately 33 apartment units for low-income housing. The $64,000 will supplement prior allocations of $837,000 granted by the city of Carpinteria and the county of Santa Barbara.

The Chapel Court housing development provides low-income rental housing for local farm employees in 28 apartment units. In 2008, St. Joseph’s Church, which constructed the development, contacted Peoples’ to help rehabilitate the property. The organization requested $50,000 to be used as an emergency grant to perform immediate mold testing and rebuilding.

“Reserving $64,000 from the city’s HOME fund and $49,000 in CDBG funds, for a total of $103,000 for the proposed Dahlia Court Expansion Project, would show the city’s commitment to supporting additional low-income rental housing and would still leave a majority of the city’s accumulated HOME reserve available in the future…,” said Ms. Campbell.