Citizens District Council Minutes 08-07-2008

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Citizen’s District Council Meeting
City of Muskegon CDBG
Muskegon, Michigan
Thursday, August 7, 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, James A. Dalum, G.
                     Ellouise Hieftje, Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Addie Sanders-Randall,
                     Virgie Jackson, Ryan McCabe

Excused:             Michael J. Miller

Absent:              Stephen Gawron

Staff Present:       Wilmern Griffin, Liz Parker


Dan made a motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting (April 7, 2008).
Marcia seconded. Motion passed.


   • CDC Participation Process for Last Grant Process
Pat wanted to let everyone know that their voices do count.

    • Action Plan – Citizen Participation
Marcia wanted to know what was said at the Community Relations Meeting on May 5 in
which the CDC was invited. The purpose of the meeting was to clear the air between
the CDC and the City Commission because the Commission made changes to the
CDBG/HOME grants after their Commission Meeting at their next working session
without a public hearing. Liz got a copy of the minutes from the Community Relations
meeting and it just listed #1 as Community Development Block Grant allocations, with

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no notations. Liz looked back through her notes from that meeting and the Mayor
admitted they made a mistake. He suggested the CDC get together at a work session
prior to the CDBG/HOME grant process. Wil suggested the City Commission get a
copy of the CDC minutes for the grant process. Wil said there is an issue of
communication and suggested a joint meeting prior to the process starting. The CDC
should try to schedule the interview meetings where they are not in conflict with the
Commission meetings or else have Steve get excused from the Commission meetings.
Addie appreciated everyone’s time to meet and listen to the CDC. Ellouise said the
meeting was accomplished without any fights. Marcia said it sounds like you heard us.


    • Mike Miller
Mike is a member of the CDC and approximately 6 weeks ago he had a thoracic
aneurysm. During the surgery to save his life he had a stroke. He is in the process of
receiving rehab therapy at Lifecare at the old General Hospital on 1700 Oak Avenue.
He can’t swallow and isn’t talking. He does recognize people when they come to visit.
He is in need of more advanced rehab therapy. It appears he will be out of commission
for a number of months. We all signed a get well card for him.

    • Election of Chair and Vice Chair
The current Chair is Patricia Montney and the Vice Chair was James Dalum. The terms
for these positions are for two years. All members of the CDC have a three-year term.
For the position of Chair, Marcia nominated Pat. Dan seconded. The motion passed.
For the position of Vice Chair, Jim said he is not willing to serve again since he usually
winters in Arizona. Ryan nominated Ellouise and she declined. Marcia nominated
herself and Ellouise seconded. The motion passed.

There was a question on when terms expired. The following is a list of the CDC
members and when their term expires:

Name                       Composition                               Expiration Date
James Dalum                (A) Rep for one of 4 wards                  1/31/2009
G. Ellouise Hieftje        (A) Rep for one of 4 wards                  1/31/2009
Marcia Hovey-Wright        (A) Rep for one of 4 wards                  1/31/2009
Virgie Jackson             (C) CDBG Target Area Rep                    1/31/2010
Ryan McCabe                (C) CDBG Target Area Rep                    1/31/2010
Michael J. Miller          (B) Citizen at large                        1/31/2010
Patricia Montney           (A) Rep for one of 4 wards                  1/31/2009
Dan Rinsema-Sybenga        (B) Citizen at large                        1/31/2010
Addie Sanders-Randall      (B) Citizen at large                        1/31/2010
Stephen Gawron             (D) Member of the City Commission           no term

Wilmern Griffin            Staff Liaison                                no term
Liz Parker                 CNS Secretary                                no term

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   • First Annual Muskegon Unity Academic Olympics
Wil introduced this event. The City of Muskegon, along with the Muskegon Public
Schools (MPS), is sponsoring this event. There are a lot of co-sponsors: Community
Shores Bank, Sappi, McLaughlin Neighborhood Association, Muskegon Community
College, Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association, Success Enterprise, Weber
Lumber, Keene Lumber, Community Foundation and Consumers Energy Foundation, to
name a few.

The games are for grades 1 – 8. The areas to be tested will include math, language,
technology, geography. Wil wants to make this fun. The reasons for this event are:
   1. To get the kids ready to go back to school
   2. To prepare the kids for the MEAP Test
   3. To show the kids the community is coming together to reinforce the importance
      of education

The games are scheduled for Saturday, August 23 at Nelson Elementary School field
from 11am – 2pm. Sign-in will begin at 10am. There will also be information booths.
Free t-shirts will be given to each participate at sign-in. First, second and third place
winners will receive a gold, silver or bronze medal respectively. There will also be a
certificate to all who participate. MPS students can participate for free. Non-MPS
participants must pay a $20 entry fee. When a resident of Muskegon student goes to a
non-MPS, MPS looses $7,500/child. This is the reason for the entry fee. The bulk of
the money is donated. Tax money is from the CNS department, which is paying for the
t-shirts. Marcia wanted to know what the goal was for kids. Wil advised her it was 300,
but he’d be happy with 200. Currently we have 4 participants. The Tot Spot is an area
for children who are toddlers to under first grade. There will be a moon walk, train,
coloring, free fingerprinting from the Police Dept. and free lead testing. Marcia
volunteered her husband to be a judge. Addie and Virgie also volunteered as judges
and Ellouise as a volunteer. The role of the judges will be to compare the test answers
to the answer sheets and calculate the score. It was suggested that Wil go to the Little
League games at Oakview School and Campbell Field. There is also an activity going
on at Rowan Park in Muskegon Heights on August 16, starting at 9:30 am. Marcia
suggested Americore. Wil has already given Tom Pastoor registration forms. Baker
College is donating pencils with their name on it. Wil has three different commercials
airing on the radio, including station 103.7; plus information on the Community Calendar
for Channel 13 and Wood TV 8. Wil wants everyone to pass the word. Liz handed out
flyers and registration forms to everyone.

   • Review CAPER
Everyone had previously received a copy of the Third Year CAPER. Any organization
receiving HUD funds must write a five-year plan, then an Action Plan for the new year
and the CAPER for the prior year. The CNS department has met or exceeded many
objectives while being on target for others.
   • #3 - For Vinyl Siding, CNS need to complete 26 more homes by 2010, which Wil
       says won’t be a problem.

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   •   #4 - For Rental Rehab, Wil confirmed 10 out of a goal of 16 units are complete.
       The fee chargred to the landlord is $150 for $7,000 worth of work. It is a 50/50
   •   #5 – To remove rubbish and blight, goal is 250. Marcia wants to know what the
       current number completed is. Wil checked and 2,909 have been done.
   •   #6 – This goal is for funds we give to the non-profits and this shows how many
       people need the assistance for which there are never enough funds.
   •   #7 – To replace and improve the City’s infrastructure, this is an incomplete
       section that needs to be updated. Wil said the $240,000+ was for the Shoreline
       Drive and Special Assessments for road construction. In prior years this was
       also for sidewalks.

Under General Questions for objectives,
  • #2 – Total Housing Rehab, Wil wants to verify the total of $463,248.66. Wil
      confirmed the amount was $112,628.
  • #4 – For the Rehab of Rental Units, Wil said two units were done for
      approximately $25,000 each.
  • #5 – Of the total of $332,808, $245,000+ went to the bond repayment.
  • #7 – Improve the City’s infrastructure, Wil said this funding came from CDBG

Under the Lease with Option to Purchase program, this was set up to try and sell the
two oldest homes in CNS’s inventory: 435 Monroe and 867 Williams. This is for home-
buyers who were previously turned down for a mortgage but really want to own a home.
Both houses are now leased. Monroe is being leased to a woman working for the
Muskegon Heights Housing Dept. and her three grandkids. Hopefully she will be
approved for a mortgage by the end of this year. Williams is leased to a family. The
people in these homes are taking pride in their property and providing more curb appeal
to the neighborhood. Marcia commented this is turning out to be a good program.

This program and others come about because of Operation R & R (Reawakening and
Resurgence). Quarterly meetings are held with a variety of the community: community
officers, businesses, service providers, ministries and students. The meetings deal with
social issues from the bottom up. The discussions center around what the participants
feel are problems with their neighborhoods: quality of life, loitering, sagging pants on
kids, absentee landlords and more community activities, especially for our youth.
Operation R & R also got recognized by the National League of Cities during their
National Convention in New Orleans in 2007. Operation R & R has sponsored
neighborhood clean-ups (one with a cookout) and an anti-litter poster contest for MPS
students from first through 12th grades. First, second and third place winners received
savings bonds of $100, $75 or $25 respectively. The bonds were split between Fifth
Third Bank, of which we purchased them and Bank of America, which donated the

Under the Rehab program CNS is now providing garages by working with the Michigan
Corrections Facility. They produce the walls for the garages and then we have a
contractor put up the garage. The cost is approximately $8,500 instead of $15,000.

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Under CDBG and HOME Activity, it was questioned how Wil funds projects which have
been over spent. He explained that when he started with the City of Muskegon in 1999,
the HOME program was very behind back to 1992. Because money could be carried
over, there was enough for him to do many projects. Now there is no money left in the
reserves. HOME funds get income from the sale of housing. Under CDBG activity,
Façade was listed at $0.00. Wil thought that was because they previously had funds
from the year before and did not use funds from last year. Wil confirmed this is the
case. Unused money can be carried over. Wil will also verify spent funds on the HOME
activities of Rental Rehab and Infill/New Construction.
For the Muskegon Lead S.A.F.E. program, we had 13 applications before we got our
funding in March. Homes with kids under six who have elevated blood levels are
served first.

Each year the City of Muskegon gets less and less funds from HUD. They don’t want to
be perpetual caretakers, but to help as many different people as possible. This year
they are trying to reserve Emergency Repair funds for furnaces this winter. They also
had a weatherization project where 22 homes got windows, doors, basement glass-
block windows and furnaces. Part of this was due to the fact that heating costs will be
going up this winter.

There are currently five houses in the CNS inventory: 218 Catherine in McLaughlin,
539 Orchard, 214 Myrtle and 451 Isabella in Angell and 1581 Division in Nims.


Unless there is activity that warrants a meeting in October, the next CDC meeting will
be in November. It was originally scheduled for Tuesday, November 4. Since this is
Election Day, we will be rescheduling the meeting for another date in November. Liz
gave out dates of Thursday, November 6 and Wednesday, November 12. There were
six votes for November 6 and three votes for November 12. The next CDC meeting will
be on Thursday, November 6, 2008 at 5:30 p.m. in Conference Room 203.


Patricia Montney adjourned the meeting at 6:41 p.m.

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