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Three CDBG hearings scheduled

By Janelle Patterson

Staff Reporter

Three public hearings are scheduled over the proposed uses for 2021 federal grant funds, without first having a required three-year outline for Community Development Block Grant funding goals as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for years 2021-2023, for the city of Marietta.

Mayor Josh Schlicher said Wednesday rules for the timing of each planning session are guides he’s still learning, but his intention with scheduling public hearings for 2021 funding on the final three Mondays of July is to get a jump start on public engagement.

“I don’t know if you can roll (both long-term consolidated planning and 2021 single-year planning) into one meeting,” Schlicher said. “Whatever the guidelines are from HUD, we’re supposed to mirror their regulation rather than making up our own.”

The three-year consolidated plan is due to HUD by Nov. 15, Councilman Geoff Schenkel Wednesday said. HUD’s best practice guidelines encourage creative and responsive adaptations to public involvement above and beyond the minimum requirements of a hearing, he said.

“So that the citizens can talk more about how addressing the problems they’re seeing in their neighborhoods can achieve the pillars outlined by CDBG,” Schenkel said.

Ironing out details for which public hearings need to happen first and how those meetings will be facilitated will come next week, he mayor said.

“The goal is to have as much participation as possible so they are aware,” Schlicher said. “Aware of the process to get their input. It’s a government agency that gives us the guidelines and if we’re falling short there then we need to alter the ways we’re doing things.”

Schenkel and Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf said they met with Safety-Service Director Steve Wetz last week to discuss aiding in the facilitation of the public meetings and helping with public education to better identify the problems and issues otherwise undocumented or unnoticed by the city that could call under the guidelines for CDBG funding for low-to-moderate income areas.

Schlicher also said he would provide the requested adjustments to the 2019 budget for CDBG next week.

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