Posted: Thursday, May 15th 2014 at 12:39pm
Hall Co. asks for Gainesville's help on grant programs
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – Hall County is asking for the City of Gainesville’s assistance. That is nothing noteworthy in itself, except for the fact that relations between the two governing bodies have been stretched lately over matters such as SPLOST distribution, the planned Glades Reservoir, sewer services, etc.
At Thursday morning’s Gainesville City Council work session, Gainesville Housing Program Manager Chris Davis asked Hall County Grant Manager Jessica Robinson to sit with him as he addressed the Council.
“I’m here to get Council’s consideration to allow us to enter into an agreement with the County to assist with their 2011 and 2012 CHIP (Community Home Investment Program) programs,” Davis said as he began his presentation.
Davis explained that the state grants which provide housing rehabilitation and down payment assistance require the receiving entity (Hall County) have a Department of Community Affairs sanctioned administrator to manage the program.
Hall County does not have such an individual; the City of Gainesville, on the other hand, is approved.
Hall County did have a DCA-approved administrator, Home Development Resources, Inc., when the grants were awarded but has since parted ways with HDRI.
Following the work session, Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said the county has looked to partner with the city first, but has other options available for an administrator.
“Chris, I have a question,” Councilman Sam Couvillon began. “Specifically, what is the benefit to the City?”
Davis replied, “I see a true benefit in the fact that…city residents are also county residents. And it (cooperation with the county) looks good to DCA, as well; and it helps us in terms of future grants.”
Couvillon responded, “I appreciate…what you said, that we are citizens of the county. However, sometimes I wonder if they recognize that we are citizens of the county.”
Councilman Bob Hamrick agreed, saying, “Not very often.”
Mayor Danny Dunagan added, “It depends on how it favors them.”
Davis explained that the city would be extending to the county their services as a DCA-approved administrator and then billing the county for the hours involved.
“Partnering together is truly beneficial and we get a lot more things done,” was Davis’s conciliatory advice. “And we’re coming before you now because the state would like to see something in place in June.”
“In the meantime,” Davis continued, “as they’re learning from us they can become their own administrator.”
Robinson interjected, “There are opportunities for us to work together to ask for larger grant funds as a city and county. This is an opportunity…to break the ice, to open the opportunity to apply for a lot more ventures together.”
“That’s one of the things that we’ve heard from DCA, that if we collaborate they see that as a true benefit…we’re a much stronger force together…there’s so many more things we can do,” Robinson said.
Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras said, “The benefit to this can only be good. I would hate for Hall County to be able to receive funds that would benefit our total community but have to be sent back to DCA because…they don’t have an administrator.”
The resolution will not be put on the consent agenda for Tuesday’s city council voting session because of a lack of unanimous consent among council members; instead it will be a part of the regular agenda, allowing for further discussion and review.
The Hall County Commission will be examining the same resolution when they convene next Thursday.
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