Greenville creates new policy to remain eligible for grants

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 12:12 pm on Thursday, April 20, 2017

Greenville Mayor John Hoppough, left, listens Tuesday as Councilwoman Frances Schuleit speaks on the subject of creating a new Citizen Participation Plan to ensure the city is eligible for future state grant funding. — Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLE — To ensure this community is eligible for future grant funding city officials are taking steps to ensure they meet new state and federal requirements.

During Tuesday evening’s Greenville City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously on two resolutions regarding Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

In the first resolution, council members approved a new Citizen Participation Plan. According to City Manager George Bosanic, the city was already completing “99 percent” of the actions requested by the MEDC, but created an official plan at the agency’s request to meet federal requirements.

“We need to have this in place so that we can be considered for future CDBG funding,” he said. “Much of what is in here, we’re following these steps anyway, but now it’s official policy.”

Bosanic said the new plan is designed to streamline the citizen participation process, clarify procedures and provide methods for public notice. It is also designed to assure that citizens in the community and organizations concerned with housing and community development will have the opportunity to participate in the planning and utilization of community development funds.

Those steps include holding public hearings — including a first hearing before a vote is held on a project and a final hearing after a project is completed — and public notices, in which language is made available notifying citizens where they may submit their views and proposals should they be unable to attend a public hearing.

“Don’t we satisfy most of these requirements automatically when we go through a public hearing?” Councilman Lloyd Scoby asked.

Bosanic agreed the city had already been following the requirements.

I think what they (MEDC) are trying to do, is get everything in writing, in advance,” he said. “The City Council officially adopts it (Citizen Participation Plan) so it becomes the policy for you to follow when it becomes necessary.”

The council also approved a Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Plan. According to Bosanic, this is a plan that would be utilized if a potential project required that residents need to be relocated in the event of construction or other issues resulting in displacement.

“The last time we ever actually relocated citizens was with part of a project when we built the truck route (Greenville West Drive),” he said. “We bought up several homes and had to relocate people. (That was done) with federal funds, and though we didn’t have a policy in place, they told us what we needed to follow in order to receive those federal funds.”

Bosanic said the new plan will make it policy that the city be prepared to relocate citizens if necessary.

“Although at this point the CDBG facade grants that we’re about to participate in do not have any relocation of any citizens, we may have (relocation) with upcoming rental rehab grant (requests). If there are residents within those apartments, they would have to be displaced while the construction was going on.”

Mayor John Hoppough said he was glad to see the city ensuring it follow proper procedure to secure future grant funding.

“This puts it in policy form, that’s a great thing,” he said.

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