Citizens District Council Minutes 02-04-2008

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Citizen’s District Council Meeting
City of Muskegon CDBG
Muskegon, Michigan
Monday, February 4, 2008


The meeting was called to order by Patricia Montney at 5:35 p.m.


Roll call was taken by Liz Parker.

Present:             Patricia Montney, Marcia Hovey-Wright, G. Ellouise Hieftje, Dan
                     Rinsema-Sybenga, Addie Sanders-Randall, Michael J. Miller, Ryan
                     McCabe and Stephen Gawron

Absent:              Virgie Jackson

Excused:             James A. Dalum

Staff Present:       Wilmern Griffin, Liz Parker


Marcia Hovey-Wright made a motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting
(January 8, 2008). Addie Sanders-Randall seconded. Motion passes.



   •   Prior to the Grant proposals, there were a few questions brought up. Marcia
       thought that at a Governor’s meeting the State would be helping with
       foreclosures. Wil thought the State was going for targeted groups and not
       necessarily our targeted areas. He also thought nothing had been established
       yet. Wil mentioned CNS’s proposal for Foreclosure Prevention Assistance would
       be for people under $3,500 of foreclose payments and, if they qualified, would
       get a grant with a lien on their house. The minimum payment would be $1,000.

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   •   There was a discussion about the Health Project. Wil mentioned they previously
       got a $3,000 grant from us last year for Lead Safe Now! Muskegon, but this
       year’s grant was for diabetes. The Health Department no longer has a lead
   •   Marcia thought there wasn’t a description of the Affirmative Action proposal. Wil
       advised they used to get their money of $10,000 - $15,000 from Administration
       funds in the past. This year he made it a separate line item since there is more
       activity than in the past, such as the American Disabilities Act, of which City Hall
       will be audited. The group feels the Affirmative Action proposal is incomplete
       and needs a narrative of a description. Liz will email Dwana Thompson and ask
       for the description prior to tomorrow’s meeting.

     • Fire Station Bond Payment Proposal
Bryon Mazade – City of Muskegon Manager and Tim Paul – City of Muskegon Finance
Director, came to present this proposal to the group and answer questions. Marcia
wanted to know why the City was beginning to pay for this bond with CDBG funds.
Bryon indicated that the Shoreline payment through CDBG funds was complete and
extended to the Fire Station once the Shoreline Bond was repaid. Downtown
Development Authority (DDA) doesn’t have money yet to repay the bond. Once they
get revenue, they will begin payment. Currently, the DDA has other bond payments
until the year 2019. Tim would like to see the CDBG funding go away and the DDA take
over completely through tax revenue. In 2007 the General Fund paid $115,000 towards
this bond. Addie wanted to know if the funds from the sale of the old fire station,
whenever that may happen, will be applied to this bond. Bryon indicated that money
would go to the Public Improvement Fund as the sale of the property that Harley
Davison is on was applied to the new Fire Station. A $300,000 deal fell through. Bryon
is willing to sell the building for less in order to create jobs and invest in the building.
Bryon was thinking the building would be great for attorneys’ offices, since it is close to
the courts. Marcia thought an ambulance service would be nice. Addie wanted to know
if a realtor is being used to assist in the selling of the old fire station. Bryon said they
don’t usually use a realtor for their sales. While the building does need some repairs, it
does have nice features such as marble and underground parking. Bryon says vacating
Walton Street for the building use might also create some interest since there would be
parking in the front and also on the side where the firemen use to park. Addie also
wanted to know what parties have been interested in the building and Bryon said a
credit union and a developer who didn’t have a use yet for the building. Marcia wanted
to know why our CDBG funding is going down but this proposal is going up and how
much can be paid by general funds. Tim advised the group that the tax increments are
going down, the Smart zone has not materialized as much as hoped and there is no
stable revenue source other than CDBG. They would like to reduce the CDBG amount
within the next two years, if income permits. Pat wanted to know why the City
Commission didn’t come to the CDC prior to the Commission approving this in 2006.
Bryon said it was the City’s intent to use the CDBG funds all along. He didn’t mean to
slight the CDC. Wil indicated he knew of the proposal, but the CDC can still make their
recommendations. Michael said the pot is shrinking, the fire station moved out of the
target area, there’s a loss of money and the fire station is being used by people closer
by with tax breaks, the fire station is near them but low/moderate income families are
paying the taxes for something not in their area. Bryon indicated the new Fire Station
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allows for quicker response, it’s an eligible expense, there are tax benefits, and it
neighbors the Enterprise Zone. Dan wanted to know if Bryon knew how other cities
spend their CDBG money. Bryon said Norton Shores paid for their Airline Fire Station
with CDBG funds. Dan wanted to know about Holland and how many city structures are
funded by CDBG funds. Bryon indicated he didn’t know about Holland, but Station #4
on Lakeshore Drive was also funded by CDBG. Pat Montney wanted to know if the new
Fire Station was a benefit to downtown. Bryon said it was an anchor to downtown but
that some might think the noise at night might be a deterrent. Michael wanted to know if
use of the Community Room at the new Fire Station was going to continue to be free.
Bryon said yes, he want to keep it free. Marcia wanted to know why the yearly bond
repayment amounts were not uniform. Tim explained the bonds are bid out. Many of
the interest rates are at 4%. He hopes DDA takes off before 2019. Bryon said if there
are any other questions to channel them through Wil. After Bryon and Tim left someone
questioned what tax increment financing was. Between Wil and Dan they explained a
structure in the area has a tax base of $2,000. That amount is frozen. After everything
is built, the new tax base is $5,000. The $3,000 increment is the tax increment
financing that goes to the DDA. Wil also said that 70% of the CDBG funding has to go
to low/moderate income families, after Administration fees and Façade are subtracted.

     • American Red Cross Proposal
Lois Brinks gave her presentation to the group. The American Red Cross (ARC)
handles drives, dispatch and record keeping. For the last 19 or 21 years she has been
with the organization, the City of Muskegon has supported her cause. They have five
cars, volunteer drivers who start at 5 am, starting with dialysis patients and ending at
4:30 pm each day. They also drive dialysis patients on holidays. Their driving is also
for preventative medical care to people age 60 and older. They did make an exception
for one person on dialysis who is younger than 60 and legally blind. They have been
transporting this person since 2005 to dialysis, the foot doctor, etc. This person said
‘It’s not just a taxi ride, you’re riding with friends.’ The volunteers care about their
people. Marcia wanted to know the difference between Sr. Transit and the American
Red Cross driving. The ARC is full to capacity, goes to medical facilities further out for
no charge. Wil indicated Sr. Transit will take anyone anywhere, whereas ARC only
does medical transport. Lois said they do get donations from their riders, sometimes 50
cents. Wil asked how they are handling the higher gas prices. Lois said they get a
discount from Fuelman and the State gets rid of some of the taxes. They have to do
rider satisfaction surveys every two years. They do approximately 77/month in the City
of Muskegon, then the Township. The Township has a high rate as there is Senior
Housing there. Ellouise wanted to know what Davita Muskegon was. It’s a dialysis
center. County Transport Services are getting worse as the economy worsens. Ryan
wanted to know how many riders give a donation. Lois said they all try at one time or
another. AMR also received CDBG funding of $4,000 from Norton Shores and funding
from Muskegon Heights. They get funds from the Muskegon Township General Funds.
The Service League only helps every four years. Every couple of years they ask for
money from Senior Resources. Their cars were being leased and occasionally get into
car accidents, being on the road all the time. Now the State is paying 20% and the
Federal Gov’t is paying 80% for the cars, no more leasing. They are now bought and
self insured.

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    • HealthCARE Proposal
Wilmer Cullen was the representative from HealthCARE. They do outreach in the
community, they have service contacts and do an eight-week diabetes training class. At
the Christian Community Center on Hackley they do food and hygiene assistance. One
day each month they cook a meal and feed and test people. The food is donated or
they buy it themselves. Their meals are healthy meals. They have an after-school
program at the Smith Ryerson Center once a week. They try to teach self esteem,
fairness, trustworthiness, being individual and building character. They also have a
summer program. There is no overtime pay. They do not get a lot of parental support,
but they try to let the children know they need to build themselves up. Marcia wanted to
know if they get monetary support from the churches. Wilmer said she asks, but they
don’t pay but do provide a lot of volunteers. They provide Supper Houses at the
Christian Community Center. Dan asked about their funding. They are requesting
$3,500 from us, but could not tell us how much she gets from Hackley or Mercy
General. Wil did say they have done blood pressure testing at some of the area clean-
ups for Operation R&R. She does refer people to Mercy Family Care at their Oak
Campus or to Hackley Community Care. Call at 8am and they will see you the same
day, arrive at 7am as a walk-in for dental. Ryan asked about donations. They do get
donations of food, there is no charge to clients and they have to pay for supplies.
Wilmer indicated they do get funding from Mercy General, but did not give an amount.

The meeting broke at 7:18 p.m. and will continue on Tuesday, February 5.

The meeting was called to order by Pat Montney at 5:37 p.m., Tuesday, February 5,

Roll call was taken by Liz Parker.

Present:            Patricia Montney, Marcia Hovey-Wright, G. Ellouise Hieftje, Dan
                    Rinsema-Sybenga, Addie Sanders-Randall, Virgie Jackson,
                    Michael J. Miller, Ryan McCabe and Stephen Gawron

Absent:             James A. Dalum

Staff Present:      Wilmern Griffin, Liz Parker

    • COM – Planning & Economic Development Department – Facades Proposal
Cathy-Brubaker Clarke, Department Director, presented the Façade proposal. The
Façade program started about five years ago. Façade improvements are for the
smaller retail businesses mainly in the targeted areas of downtown, Getty Street,
Webster and Third, but it can also apply to any area of the City. The program is 50/50.
The business pays 50% and we pay 50% to a maximum of $5,000. Each project is
reviewed by staff and only paid after the job is complete. Marcia wanted to know what
has been done downtown. Cathy said they worked on Gary Posts’ two buildings:
Daniels and the Century Club. They also did the Eagles where they opened up
windows, and did a façade for Bowen Refrigeration on Getty. They have also helped
the Heritage Hair Salon on Muskegon. For renovated buildings, the façade has to be a
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benefit to the business and to the streetscape. It needs to be seen from the street and
attached to the building. This grant will take care of three businesses at the maximum
of $15,000. There are still some funds available. Cathy sees this as a big year.
Michael wanted to know what happens after the work is done and then the building is
sold. So far it would be OK, but they haven’t come across that yet. Ellouise wanted to
know if Lakeside can be in the targeted area. Cathy said any area in the City is eligible.
They have done Uncle Vern’s on Laketon in Nim’s neighborhood by adding windows
which opened up the store so you can see in. They have also done work at Hegg’s
Furniture, which is the old Century Club building. Anyone can come to the Planning
Department and see Mike Frankzak and fill out a form.

   •    COM – Planning & Economic Development Department – Code
        Enforcement Officer Proposal
Cathy-Brubaker Clarke was again the spokesperson. This officer would patrol the City
for grass that is too high in the yard, trash in the yard, etc. The Inspections Dept. is
notified and if the problem isn’t solved, the City takes care of it, at a cost to the person.
This helps the blight in the city. If trash cans are left outside, this is not for the Code
Enforcement Officer. Ted Russell at the Department of Public Works handles this.
They currently have two officers who, in the past split the City in two and each handled
an area. Now they want this officer to cover target areas. This officer will also handle
vacant building ordinances. After the first year as a vacant building, the City will charge.
Also the building will be recorded. They will also include noting any broken windows,
etc. The vacant buildings ordinances are for commercial buildings only. Ryan wanted
to know how many citations were issued last year as it’s difficult for him to justify the
cost. Cathy didn’t have the number of citations available, but explained the salary was
$40,000 plus benefits. This position is an upgrade. The cost in the proposal is the 2007
wage and benefits. For this officer, it would be approximately $1,500 more in wages.
Marcia wanted to know where funds would come from other than CDBG. Cathy said
they would come from the General Fund. There was also discussion of the leaf
ordinance, which helps with absentee landlords and young people who are first-time
homebuyers and don’t necessarily know how to take care of their properties and leaves.
Cathy came back after her session and handled out 2007 Environmental Stats.

    • COM – Affirmative Action Proposal
Dwana Thompson is the person running the Affirmation Action Department and
programs. At last night’s meeting, when it was discussed that her application was
incomplete with no narrative description. A full narrative of her program was provided.
Marcia wanted to know why this was the first year asking for the grant. Wil explained in
previous years $5,000 - $10,000 was taken from the CDBG Administrative Duties. He
now has it as a separate line item. When street work is done, Dwana goes to the
worksites and interviews the workers and asks to make sure they are being paid
prevailing wages and that there is diversity in the workforce. JEH Internship program is
ongoing. If a City of Muskegon department wants a summer intern, they give a job
description to Affirmative Action. Dwana then sends it out to people who apply for the
internship. It is for the poor and under privileged. Dwana has to confirm the total
household income to determine who’s eligible. This program also tries to get or keep
people in the area so they can work in the City of Muskegon after college. This program
provides goals for developing skills in the interns that they wouldn’t get otherwise. Last
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year the Clerk’s Office and Planning each had an intern. The grant is not to pay for the
intern but is for the coordination of the program. Dwana also has an assistant that can
occasionally help with mailings, contacting members for EOC, agenda packages, etc.
For the ADA Project Civic Access, the City of Muskegon was randomly picked for
compliance review to make sure our services and facilities, including our parks, are up
to code. Dwana will prep for audits, including grievances document review. For the IFT
Tax Abatement, Dwana meets with the employer to discuss the workforce, Affirmative
Action and EEO policy is in place. She wants them to have goals while still adhering to
federal guidelines. Addie wanted to know what happens when they do not meet the
guidelines. Dwana advised she meets with the company to assist to get them
resources and get the guidelines in place. Sometimes they have to recruit from outside
of the area for technical jobs, such as energy-based jobs where there is no local
education for flow of energy, density, physics, etc. You might be able to get some
education if you work for an electrical or heating and cooling company, but there is no
curriculum. At times, if a discharged military person comes to the area they would get
the job as they would have the training from the military. These jobs do not start at
minimum wage. It would be nice to have companies to partnership with schools to
expose children to the different knowledge they will need for future jobs. Pat wanted to
know how many housing complaints Dwana has dealt with in the last year. Only two or
three and that was because people wanted to know how to contact Fair Housing. She
doesn’t get a lot of those calls. She has worked with Larry Spataro with apartment
discrimination and real estate agents steering clients toward high rent districts. The
main discrimination complaints Dwana receives are disability complaints.

    • COM – Inspections Department Proposal
The spokesman is Mark Kincaid, Director of Public Safety. Pat wanted to know how
many demolitions were done last year. Mark said 10 – 15. They also do numerous
board-ups on houses left open. There is a City ordinance that says they must be
secured. Pat asked about how the City makes sure that if a demo is done on a house
with hazards, such as asbestos, lead, etc. that the demo is done within the hazard
guidelines so as not to pollute the environment. Mark said the company doing the demo
must pull a permit and follow the guidelines; however, there is not enough manpower to
police the guidelines. They are depending on the contractors to see what has to be
done when they do their walk-throughs prior to a demo. There are not enough funds
for all the buildings that need to be torn down. They pick the really bad ones that will
help eliminate the negative impact on the neighborhood. Pat wanted to know if they go
after the demo companies that don’t comply with the guidelines. Mark said they don’t
have the manpower. Per Steve, the hazards of tearing down a house are not the same
as a large old commercial or institutional facility. Steve said there are currently no laws
in Michigan governing demos. Mark said there are some commercial structures they
won’t tear down due to the cost of lead and asbestos abatement. They also try to
pressure owners into taking care of their buildings. Since the Sieradzki home was town
down, people are taking the warnings from the City seriously now. Sometimes, if they
get escrow money, they use that instead of CDBG funds for demos. With regards to
landlords, that goes through the Inspections Department. They have two inspectors
who make sure they meet the property maintenance code. If the property is vacant over
two years, it cannot be rented out, by law. Wil asked if demo costs have gone up and

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Mark said yes, mainly due to gas prices and the tipping fees for disposals. Mark says
they try to get the properties fixed up rather than demoed.

    • COM - Leisure Services Department Proposal
Lowell Kirksey is the Director of Leisure Services. The youth recreational programs
have been funded by CDBG since the 80’s. Their programs include Learn to Swim,
Open Gym and Swim and Youth Basketball for both girl and boy teams. All the coaches
are volunteers. They also have mentors on Saturdays, who are an example to the
children as they are athletes, students and past participants in these programs. These
programs try to get the children to learn and serve by doing various projects to raise
funds such as donating play equipment to Nims School and cleaning up graffiti from
Nelson School, showing them to take pride in the area. They also had Healthy Me Day
at Moon school, teaching children to eat healthy by going to the Farmer’s Market and
learning about nutrition. At McLaughlin they had a garden and taught the children how
to grow their own food. They’ve also had clothes and food drives. With the children
doing fund raising they were able to save $2,000, which went to Every Women’s Place,
Fishes and Loaves Food Place and the Mission. All these events take place after
school, on weekends and during the summer. Their Title 5 program funding has ended.
For the basketball teams they charge $25 for each in-program child and that money
goes for uniforms. They also charge $25 for each outside-program child and that
money goes towards administrative fees, refs and building costs. Overall their costs are
about $3 - $4 per child vs. $30,000 - $40,000 for court and legal fees if they get into
trouble. These programs help the children to understand diversity and sportsmanship.

   •   COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – CDBG Administration
Wil Griffin is the Director of Community and Neighborhood Services and the
spokesperson for all the CNS HOME proposals. The CDBG Administrative funds go
towards Wil’s salary and benefits, Liz Parker’s – administrative assistant and Sue
Sutherland’s – financial clerk. There is also research and contractors within this
category. Contractors would be when we need surveys completed, as required by
HUD, etc.

   • COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – Service Delivery Proposal
Wil said this is for the administering of their Emergency Repair Program and Vinyl
Siding Program by Ardyce Haken, who is the Rehab Counselor. She handles all the
work that is contracted out, the contact between our client and the contractor doing the
work and also records all the liens.

   •  COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – Emergency Repair
Wil explained this program is for furnace repair/replacement, leaking roofs, electrical
updates to avoid a fire hazard and floor and foundation repairs if structurally bad. Pat
wanted to know if they handled sewer lines that break between the street and the
property. They pay $800 to have this fixed between the street and the property line.
These are expensive emergency repairs that they can give to qualified homeowner who
otherwise would be in serious financial trouble to get done. They also handle plumbing
problems, such as cleaning sewer lines. The homeowners must qualify at 50% of AMI
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for Emergency Repairs. They did 70 emergency repairs last year and are now out of
funds. When repairs are $3,500 and over, a lien is recorded for five years and
decreases 20% each year. If the homeowner were to sell their home after three years,
they would owe 40% of the lien. They use contractors who are registered with the City.
If not, they must register before they are allowed to do any work. Pat wanted to know
how much they did last year and how much did they pay. Wil did not have this
information and needs to provide it to the group.

    • COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – Vinyl Siding Proposal
Wil stated material costs have increased. There were 28 homes sided last year. There
isn’t a backlog as in years past. If a house is sided with asbestos, tile, imitation brick or
wood that is so old and has been painted so many time it doesn’t hold the paint any
longer, these homes are eligible for vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is better than paint and
doesn’t need lead testing. The siding helps with the esthetic look of the house and
neighborhood. There is a disappointment of not doing windows, but to do windows you
would need to test for lead and that leads to more repair than they have money for.
Virgie asked why they don’t cedar shingle siding. Wil explained it’s more expensive.

    • Muskegon Community Health Project Proposal
Mimi Rankin was the spokesperson for this organization. She is the Diabetes
Coordinator and does outreach. They just completed the Men’s Health Fair to do
prostate, cholesterol, blood pressure and AIDS testing. They gave tickets to a
basketball game to the first 100 men who came to the fair. 134 men were screened that
day. They do diabetes testing with the churches. They work with Muskegon Family
Care, County Mental Health, Benson Drug Store and case workers. If a person has no
insurance, they help to get them insurance and help with enrollment in food stamps, and
a pharmaceutical program. They have gotten over $200,000 in free drugs. They are a
one-stop shop for all testing. They are having a Diabetic Walk at Heritage Landing, they
handle food and pharmaceuticals. They had an African-American Diabetes Conference
with over 550 people in attendance. Muskegon is #7 in the Country for African-
American diabetes. They are being bought out by Trinity (Mercy). It appears they will
be combined with HealthCARE. Marcia wanted to know why they didn’t get grants
earlier. Mimi said they previously got a grant for Miles of Smiles. They are short of
funds for this program. Ryan wanted to know when they were created. They started in
1995 and have had CDBG funding for only three years. They do get referrals from 211
and other organizations. Marcia wanted to know what the funds would be for. Mimi
advised they are to supplement their Diabetes program as there are cuts elsewhere.

The meeting broke at 7:50 p.m. and will continue on Monday, February 11.

The meeting was called to order by Pat Montney at 5:36 p.m., Monday, February 11,

Roll call was taken by Liz Parker.

Page 8 of 17
Present:            Patricia Montney, Marcia Hovey-Wright, G. Ellouise Hieftje, Dan
                    Rinsema-Sybenga, Addie Sanders-Randall, Virgie Jackson,
                    Michael J. Miller, Ryan McCabe

Absent:             James A. Dalum

Excused:            Stephen Gawron

Staff Present:      Wilmern Griffin, Liz Parker

    • COM – Dept. of Public Works – Senior Transit Proposal
Leigh Ann Archer, Administrative Supervisor for DPW represented the department.
They provide rides to City of Muskegon residents 62 and older for medical
appointments, shopping, hair appointments, lunch or visiting. They use two cars as
long as they have enough rides available. They have been providing this service since
the 1970’s. They are asking for less this year as Leigh Ann averaged out the hours in
the past to get a more realistic number. The City of Muskegon makes up any funding
difference. They do not ask for funding for postage or office supplies. The grant goes
to the wages of the drivers and dispatcher. Michael wanted to know how many rides
they provide each year. Leigh Ann said 3,134, which could represent approximately
500 persons. Their cars are recycled police cars. Marcia wanted to know how much
they spend each month on auto costs. The cost is approximately $400 per month,
which includes fuel, insurance, repairs and radios. Wil wanted to know if they traveled
outside the City of Muskegon. Yes they do to the Seminole area in Norton Shores as
there are medical offices there. They also go to Wal-Mart on Sherman Blvd. and Save-
a-Lot on Apple Ave. They do not go to the Mall as it’s too far to fit into the time
schedule. Marcia wanted to know what the percentages are of the different rides.
Leigh Ann said 48% is for medical appointments and 52% is for grocery shopping and
hair appointments. Wil wanted to know about drop offs vs. pick up. They can either be
scheduled to be picked up or call when they are done with their appointment when they
don’t have an exact time they would be available for pick-up. The cost of a ride has
been $1.50 since 2006. GoBus is $1.75, which goes further as it’s for the County, but it
must be scheduled two weeks in advance. Senior Transit can be scheduled the day
before. Senior has 2 drivers, 1 driver/dispatcher and 1 dispatcher. They have no
volunteers. Pat wanted to know how often the pull tabs are changed for numbers.
Leigh Ann indicated when they reach zero. Ryan wanted to know if auto repairs were
done by the City’s garage and they are. Also the cars are well maintained. Wil wanted
to know if flyers could go to the Neighborhood Associations of Muskegon (NAM) and the
high rise buildings. They don’t have a budget to do advertising but those were good
ideas. There is a need for this service in the Nelson and McLaughlin neighborhoods.
Liz will provide Leigh Ann with the NAM contact list. Wil wanted to know if they had
more activity from high-rises or single families. They have more from single families.
Wil wanted to know their hours. They start at 8am and the last pickup is 3:20pm. The
cars have to be back by 4pm. They work Monday through Friday with no weekends.
Dan talked about putting up notices for this service in church bulletins and hospitals.
Ryan was concerned that additional advertising would overload their capacity. Leigh

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Ann said they can handle additional rides. She also said as far as she knows, no other
towns offer this type of service.

     • COM – Engineering – Street Repair Assessment Assistance Proposal
Mohammed Al-Shatel, Director of Engineering, was the spokesperson. Pat wanted to
know how much from last year’s CDBG was used. He didn’t know as it goes through
Finance and Wil. It didn’t exceed $70,000. Last year Getty Street repairs didn’t qualify
for any assessment assistance as it is all businesses, which don’t qualify for this
program. On Creston no one qualified as there are a lot of rentals and they also are not
eligible for the program. On Division Street there are over 50 property owners and
Mohammed thinks at least 2/3 will apply. Marcia wanted to know about Dale, Isabella,
7th and Jarman. Mohammed said the critical areas that need the street repairs are Clay,
Division and Quarterline as there are federal funds for the actual street repairs. Also,
people have a chance to vote for the repairs. In 2003 Division was vetoed. Last year it
got approved. Pat wanted to know what percentage of people would qualify. On
Division, approximately 2/3; on Isabella only 4 or 5 properties and not much on Clay as
it’s mostly businesses. Dale would probably be 100%. Wil wanted to know how much
front footage would cost. Mohammed said the cost is $32/foot. It usually averages
$2,000 - $2,300. The homes have to be owner-occupied and they must income qualify.
Dan asked about the funding and Mohammed said the CDBG funds have always been
there. He said the street repairs enhance the neighborhoods and this program eases
the payments the property owners have to make.

    • Neighborhood Investment Corporation (NIC) – HOME Grant Proposal
Tim Burgess and Nancy Latham both came to represent NIC. Pat wanted to know if the
MSHDA funds were guaranteed funds. Tim said they are a direct match, dollar for
dollar, from what they will get from CDBG. The money is for administrative and
construction costs. They get money from Muskegon Heights and the City of Muskegon.
They get more money from the City of Muskegon. They also have Federal Home Bank
funds. These funds go from NIC to Nelson Neighborhood for exterior improvements
only. The homeowner provides 1/4 the funds, then NIC matches 3 to 1. For example,
the homeowner provides $5,000 and NIC provides an additional $15,000 for a total of
$20,000 in exterior repairs. Again this is for Nelson Neighborhood residents only.
For their Rehab program they can assist with closing and rehab costs with a five-year
lien, forgiven at 20% a year. They set the homeowner up to succeed. Marcia wanted to
know how many houses they have done. Ten with two as home-purchase rehab as
stated in the grant. Michael wanted to know about the Foreclosure Assistance and do
we need two of these programs. Yes, as there were 1,200 foreclosures in Muskegon
County and 1,800 are anticipated this year. One third can get assistance from MSHDA
and the rest NIC does pro bono. In 2006 there were 64 Sherriff’s deed, 98 in 2007 and
they are anticipating 147 in 2008. The average client takes approximately 7-8 hours of
service to stop the foreclosure. Nancy has a 75% success rate. Wil wanted to know
about the average amount in arrears, legal fees, etc. Arrears are about $2,500. Banks
are waiting longer before foreclosing as they really don’t want to own the property.
Arrears can be as high as $6,000 plus legal fees. It used to be three months before
attorneys got involved. Now it’s about six to seven months. NIC wants to help people
with proper practices before buying.

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     • Habitat for Humanity – HOME Grant Proposal
Sheila Kreason, Resource Developer, represented the organization. They have been in
the county for 24 years and have built almost 90 homes in the county. Families who
want a home have to provide up to 400 hours of sweat equity and must be in the 30 –
50% AMI. These people are usually in a rental situation. As a homeowner, they can
have a home for $350 - $500/month. Habitat partners with the families for 20 years,
through crisis, car accidents, job loss/reduction, illness, etc. They work out a plan for
housing payments and long term success. They have received the final payment on
their first house. Habitat gives back to the community. Individual families go from
rentals; their paychecks now go toward a house and not a landlord, who could be an out
–of-area landlord. The money now stays in the community. The children in a Habitat
home are more successful in school; the parents increase their education, are more
successful and earn more money; the family is healthier; children grow up in a home of
their own and end up also being homeowners instead of renters; 70% of those helped
are the children. For the community they have the Restore store on Ottawa Street,
which sells donated items mainly used in construction: doors, paint, nails, cabinets, etc.
Money from the Restore is used to fund the homes. There is also a tax write off for the
homeowners. Last year they got $70,000 and built four new homes. They usually don’t
do rehab as it’s extra work and, since they use volunteers, they are not trained or
licensed when they run into issues such as lead abatement. Habitat helps families at
the poverty level get out of poverty. Over 500 people apply. They need to have a
commitment, be willing to partner with Habitat for 20 years and have an income level of
$12,000 - $30,000. Habitat holds the mortgage and it’s never sold. They add taxes
paid to the City. Sheila gave a handout showing how much taxes are paid to the City
with this program. They also have a 20/20 Vision Grant. They listen to the community
to see what the neighborhood wants and help the community with their goals. They
also work with Bethany Housing. They also have MTEC, which are student built homes.
It’s an alternative contracting program and part of the class is to do volunteer
construction work. They build emergency efficient homes with ICF, insulated concrete
forms, which reduce heating costs 30 – 50%. One house this was used at is 1926
Valley. From day one, Habitat offers classes and training. They are the Restore,
construction, mortgage and social worker.

    • Bethany Housing Ministries – HOME Grant Proposal
Sarah Rinsema –Sybenga represented this organization. They have offered transitional
housing for 14 years. They have 17 units of property in Nelson and McLaughlin. They
offer a two-year program. People who are homeless, evicted, etc. are offered help.
Currently there is a waiting list of 50 families. They get approximately 10 calls a day.
They provide housing for two years maximum; however, they can move out before then.
They give each family a mentor, usually from the faith community unless they already a
mentor, and offer budgeting classes. Last year they rehabbed their 17th single family
unit. Last year they received $30,000. They are case management and sticks and
bricks. They take properties that are not in good condition, rehab them and add to the
neighborhood. They currently have 19 adults and 13 children. Of the adults, seven are
working at least part time, five are in college now and three have graduated from
sobriety court. All of the 13 children are in school. This is testimony as to how stable
housing helps. They are MSHDA approved for $400,000 for housing rehab. In order to
get the $400,000, they need a 25% match of $100,000. CDBG will be part of the 25%.
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They are anticipating acquiring four or five homes in the downtown area this year.
Some of the properties are donated to help with the 25% matching. CDBG is a huge
partner. People in this program have reduced rents and no utilities to pay. Marcia
wanted clarification on their 2007 budget. Sarah explained donated properties count as
income. Some of the properties come from the Land Bank. Currently this grant will
help staff a Project Manager, part time, which they need.

    • Sacred Suds Proposal
Carlos Avrard, Coordinator, was the spokesperson. They provided a Healthy
Neighborhood Project for the McLaughlin area. Neighbors and congregations are the
stakeholders in the community. They coordinate building communities, neighbors
getting to know each other and a stronger neighborhood. They beautify neighborhoods
with parks and gardens. They are successful in knocking on doors and getting people
involved. McLaughlin is a low income neighborhood and this program can be
reproduced in other areas. They have also gotten a parent teacher organization
involved. This program also offers internal beautification. People take ownership in
their neighborhood. They are building youth for employment. The PTA can dream of a
bigger field trip with kids; they can plan and recruit. They are designating vacant land
as parks. They get with neighbors to see what they want in the park. The area is a
seven-parcel lot. They are hoping for play equipment, a pavilion, BBQ pits and an ice
rink. Carlos presented a short video on one of their beautification projects. They are
trying to collaborate between churches, institutions and neighbors to get ideas, make
proposals and fund the project. They have bi-monthly meetings advising on how to
access City services for McLaughlin. They currently have seven block clubs and
discuss safety and crime issues. They also have five new gardens, organized by

    • Legal Aid – Legal Advice Proposal
Dan Bonner was the spokesperson for both Legal Aid proposals. Legal Aid represents
the tenants in the City of Muskegon. They deal with evictions and substandard housing
conditions. They are the only organization to provide free lawyers in the State. They
are working with the Housing Inspector since rentals must now be inspected. Forty
three percent of housing in Muskegon is rental. They serve 310 households, which is
six per week. When intake is done and they qualify they get legal advice. If they need
more than advice, they come into the office. They must be at 125% of poverty. After
the eviction notice is given, part of the eviction process happens within seven days.
The costs are $5,000 and going up. They have 37 different funding sources. Grand
Rapids writes the grant proposals. Michael wanted to know about fair housing issues.
There are some and they are referred to Grand Rapids. They are trying to get Fair
Housing back in Muskegon and get inspectors trained. That project needs funding to
get it back here, along with support. There have been no cases of housing
discrimination based on race.

Page 12 of 17
    • Legal Aid – Foreclosure Prevention Proposal
Dan Bonner also spoke for this grant. There is a crisis in Muskegon and the US.
MSHDA says in the Muskegon/Norton Shores area 35% of the mortgages were sub-
prime mortgages. When people didn’t qualify for a traditional mortgage with a bank,
they were forced to go to a mortgage company. In 2007 there were 1,100 foreclosures
in the County. There have been violations in the lending laws with some of the
mortgage companies. Sometimes the document preparations were unscrupulous and
even illegal, using appraisers to get high mortgages that people can’t really afford.
Karen Tjapkes is the lead on foreclosure intervention and defenses. Her fellowship
expires in March and Legal Aid wants to keep her on board. Most foreclosures now are
done by Public Notices instead of going to court. Legal Aid also gets funding from the
State Bar Foundation for Access to Justice for the less fortunate. Money from a client’s
trust account earns interest. That interest gets sent to the State pot and that money
goes to Access to Justice. That funding is being reduced as interest rates are falling.
Legal Aid lawyers start at $35,000 vs. a law firm at $125,000. They are looking for
funding to help 20 people who have a colorable defense. This is a defense that is worth
looking into. Clients must meet the income criteria of 125% of poverty level or lower.

The meeting broke at 8:10 p.m. and will continue on Tuesday, February 12.

The meeting was called to order by Pat Montney at 5:37 p.m., Tuesday, February 12,

Roll call was taken by Liz Parker.

Present:            Patricia Montney, Marcia Hovey-Wright, G. Ellouise Hieftje, Dan
                    Rinsema-Sybenga, Addie Sanders-Randall, Michael J. Miller, Ryan

Absent:             James A. Dalum

Excused:            Virgie Jackson, Stephen Gawron

Staff Present:      Wilmern Griffin, Liz Parker

   • Love INC
Gail Kraft, Executive Director, gave her presentation. They are one of eight
organizations that handle Project Ramp. They have a fiduciary trust with their clients.
Since 1993 they have installed 375 ramps. In 2007 they did 17 ramps or which four
were in the City of Muskegon. Weather prevented them from doing more. They have
15 in-progress applications approved and waiting for crews, money and better weather.
Three of the 15 are with CDBG funds. They also get assistance from the Kiwanis. In
February they take applications. They have two work camps from Chicago that do
service for disabilities and handicaps. Ellouise asked if they tear down ramps when
they are no longer needed. They will only tear down those ramps that they installed. A
ramp costs between $1,100 and $1,500, and they are custom made, depending on the

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size and type of ramp. Marcia asked if they have to be Christian. They take people of
any and no faith. That question is not asked and they do not discriminate.

    • Western Michigan Veterans Proposal
David Eling gave his presentation. The Veterans Service Center on Apple Avenue
supplies a food bank. They give food to families who don’t qualify for other programs.
They give each person/family enough food for a week. If they come back for additional
food the organization researches why the need and see what they can do to help. They
do get referrals from Love INC and CAAP. They are supported by other VA’s in the
County. They mainly purchase meet products including burgers and chicken. They
have four freezers, donated, to keep the meat in. They give out nutritional food baskets.
They do get notified of food trucks to give referrals. When they have extra, they share,
such as to Every Women’s Place. Ryan wanted to know why the vets were having such
a rough time. David said it’s post-traumatic stress. Employers are afraid of hiring vets
coming back from Iraq because of this. Ninety two percent of vets are in subsequent
marriages. There is treatment for the stress at the Veterans Service Center. They also
get referrals from the County Mental Health. Currently 3,500 vets are assigned to the
Muskegon Center. They have three doctors, 2 nurses, a technician, etc. Their payroll
for Muskegon is $1,000,000. Their homeless program has six apartments. They get no
other CDBG funding from other cities. They house, feed, clothe, provide medical
assistance, training and help with benefits and soldier relief. They receive $400,000
from the Veterans Affair, Housing Affair, contributions and millage money. Dan wanted
to know how many vets came from the City of Muskegon. David didn’t have exact
figures but knew the food bank was high. He didn’t have any statistics broken out.
Marcia wanted to know what the total cost of the food bank was. David said much of
the food is donated. The cost is approximately $20,000 - $25,000 in food supplies.
WorkFirst is their job training organization and they also work with other agencies. The
veterans coming back from Iraq also suffer from traumatic brain injury. This is a closed
brain injury. There are 600,000 claims backlogged for VA benefits. Now they also have
female veterans, which they haven’t had to deal with prior. The first two years of
treatment at this Center is free. David also said many don’t want to admit they need
food assistance and help.

   •   COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – Tax-Reverted
       Rehabilitation – HOME Grant Proposal
Wil Griffin is the Director of Community and Neighborhood Services and is the
spokesperson for all of the HOME Proposals. HUD has a good neighbor program. If a
home has been for sale for more than six months, that HUD owns, they will sell it for $1.
CNS then rehabs and sells the house to a low/moderate income family. If the State has
houses, the municipalities can buy the houses, rehab and resell. An example of that is
435 Monroe Avenue. Sometimes they tear down a house rather than rehab it. 280 Iona
is an example of this. They hope to do one house this year.

   •   COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – Infill – HOME Grant
This is new construction. Good examples are the homes behind the Farmer’s Market.
That was a wooded area with illegal dumping. They did an environmental study, had

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the land cleared and the homes built. They also tear down homes when they are in too
bad a shape to rehab. This was the case with 539 Orchard Avenue.

   •   COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – Rental Rehab Program –
       HOME Grant Proposal
The landlord contributes $14,999 per unit and CNS matches. They must rent to 30%
AMI families for five years or to Section 8 recipients. After five years they can rent to
anyone. If they do not meet the five-year obligation, they must pay back, on a sliding
scale. Pat wanted to know how much money was left. Wil said very little, only about
$15,000 - $20,000. This program is to improve the quality of the rental community.
They can’t create new rentals, the owner must have owned the building for one year
and the house must be of safe housing quality. This program was dormant but there is
more activity since Inspections has mandatory rental inspections.

   •     COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – Foreclosure - HOME
         Grant Proposal
This new program is meant for people with less than $3,500 in arrears for foreclosure.
If it can be saved, they will get financial training and they must have the means to keep
the house up after the foreclosure is paid off. A lien is placed on their house for three
years. If they can keep up the house, the lien is forgiven after three years. Addie
wanted to know about homes that are paid off but are going into foreclosure due to back
taxes. Wil thought this is a good idea and might add it to the program. This
foreclosure program will work in conjunction with Legal Aid and NIC.

   •   COM – Community and Neighborhood Services – HOME Administration
       Grant Proposal
This grant is for the administering of the HOME program. It is one person, Oneata
Bailey, who is the home coordinator. She coordinates between the contractors,
homeowners, Inspections, Wil and whoever else is required to get the job done.

After all the proposals had been heard, the group went to the task of making their grant
recommendations with some discussion on the CNS recommendations. Marcia wanted
to know why NIC was getting such a big hit and it was just being as fair as possible.
She also said Bethany Housing has a $30,000 profit. It was questioned why Façade
was reduced. They have left over funding. What was Expected Program Income? Wil
said it refers to people who have liens with CNS and refinance or sell their homes and
have to pay off their liens. Dan indicated the City of Muskegon budget is $60,000,000.
Wil left the room so the group could make their recommendations.

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Group                            Grant Recomm     Motions
CDBG Grants
Love INC                         $    2,500       Addie motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
American Red Cross               $    3,500       Ellouise motioned, Ryan seconded, motion passed
West Michgan Veterans            $    2,850       Ellouise motioned, Marcia seconded, motion passed
Sacred Suds*                     $    3,000       Pat motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
      *Note Dan Rinsema-Sybenga abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest
COM – DPW Senior Transit         $   42,500       Marcia motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – Planning-Code Enforcement $    40,000       Marcia motioned, Dan seconded, motion passed
COM – Planning - Façade          $    5,000       Addie motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS Service Delivery       $   70,000       Marcia motioned, Addie seconded, motion passed
HealthCARE                       $    3,000       Marcia motioned, Ryan seconded, motion passed
Legal Aid – Legal Advice         $    3,500       Ryan motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
Legal Aid – Foreclosure          $   15,000       Pat motioned, Marcia seconded, motion passed unanimously
Musk Comm Health Project         $    2,750       Dan motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS CDBG Admin             $ 168,500        Marcia motioned, Dan seconded, motion passed
COM – Engineering                $   48,500       Ellouise motioned, Dan seconded, motion passed
COM – Leisure Services           $   73,000       Marcia motioned, Addie seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS Vinyl Siding           $ 162,500        Dan motioned, Mike seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS Emergency Repair       $ 200,000        Addie motioned, Mike seconded, motion passed
COM – Inspections – Demo         $   43,500       Ryan motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – Affirmative Action         $    4,000       Marcia motioned, Addie seconded, motion passed
COM – Fire Station Bond          $ 128,169        Dan motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
Total                            $1,021,769
HOME Grants
Bethany Housing*                 $   57,500       Marcia motioned, Ryan seconded, motion passed
      *Note Dan Rinsema-Sybenga abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest
Habitat for Humanity             $   65,000       Marcia motioned, Ryan seconded, motion passed
Neighborhood Investment Corp*    $   65,000       Marcia motioned, Ryan seconded, motion passed
      *Note Michael Miller abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest.
COM - CNS HOME Administration    $   25,000       Marcia motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS Tax-reverted Rehab     $   47,500       Marcia motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS Rental Rehab           $   32,500       Marcia motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS Infill New Const       $   60,000       Marcia motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
COM – CNS Foreclosure            $   35,000       Marcia motioned, Ellouise seconded, motion passed
Total                            $ 387,500

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It should be noted money was taken from HOME Rental Rehabs to give more money to
the CHDO’s. This provides more money into the City of Muskegon as the CHDO’s
quality for matching funds from MSHDA. Mike, Ryan, Dan and Marcia volunteered to
go to the City Commission Meeting when the proposals will be discussed. Liz will
advise them of the date.

Patricia Montney adjourned the meeting at 8:35 p.m.

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