City seeking infrastructure planning grants

During the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on July 20, the Rosebud City Council was presented with Resolution 07-20-2020 to engage in a professional service provider contract with Grantworks.

The grant this pertains to is a Texas Community Development Block Grant through the Texas CDBG program, pertaining to the Capacity and Building Fund. According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, the primary focus of the program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities principally for persons of low- to moderate-income. It encompasses creating an outline/plan for the future of the community.

This plan will be a guideline for prioritizing a number of infrastructure upgrades, including but not limited to streets and wastewater.

According to Keith Whitfield, the last grant attempted from the fund was done in 2008 by MRB Group. The grant application cycle is 10 years, therefore the City of Rosebud is able to request grants again.

“It would be good to set something in place we can follow,” Whitfield said. 

It was asked whether this plan would help in receiving additional grant monies elsewhere, to which the city administrator answered yes. The plan can be included with grant applications to show true weaknesses within the community and the areas most in need of improvement.

Sharon Skupin expressed a concern with the unknown total costs associated with the work, as previous interactions with grantworks have cost more than expected up front. 

Whitfield reminded her that certain aspects of the work are not always as expected, but presented the cost to be 10 percent of the total grant amount, expected to be $3,715.

“I can guarantee this won’t cost you anything,” he said, explaining that any money paid to the firm would come from the grant money received. 

This answer was unsatisfactory, as the council woman expressed that even if funded by the state government, money paid to Grantworks would still come from community members.

“Ultimately, in the whole scheme of the things, it’s our tax dollars,” she said, citing sales tax and  property tax. 

Isabell Mcbee asked if any other grant consultants had been considered, but was told that it’s grantworks that sends administrative staff possible grants and keeps them up to date on where monies are available from. 

Grantworks will also provide planning services if the grant is received by the City of Rosebud.

After the discussion, the vote to move forward with the resolution passed 5-0. 

Additionally, a second grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is being sought. This grant, as a part of the Texas HOME Investment Partnerships Program, is meant to expand the supply of decent, safe, affordable housing within low-income communities, while enhancing the health, economic, and aesthetic quality of the community.

The City of Rosebud has identified a need for rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of owner-occupied housing, as well as wants to expand accessibility to services to persons with limited English proficiency. 

The program requires the city to show there is an available balance of $40,000 in order to fund up front costs for the project. It is a 100 percent match program, meaning that all funds paid out by the city will be reimbursed. The City of Rosebud will be responsible for zero percent. 

It was questioned by Mcbee whether funds would need to be set aside specifically for this, but was told that the program just needs to see that the funds are available if needed. They can stay in the general fund and be utilized from there. 

Debra Kimble made the motion to accept the resolution, but when Mcbee seconded the motion, she asked that the resolution number be amended, as it was the same as for the grant named previously. The motion to accept Resolution 07-20-2020-B was approved unanimously. 

Budget Amendments

A number of budget amendments were proposed to the council, but much opposition was found to the final budget numbers. In the end, the agenda item was tabled, but the discussion that ensued was full of questions from council members. 

It was asked whether the number of items in the miscellaneous budget line would move to their respective accounts, to which Skupin was told that yes, it would be happening.

There were also multiple comments about the inconsistency of the budget, citing a $24,000 deficit left on one section, while other sections have a larger balance. Sections were cited for having an overabundance of money, while leaving others in a deficit. It was explained that because there are still months left in the budget cycle, certain funds could not be moved.

Debra Kimble noted that if some of those monies were moved, it would result in more changes in the event that an unforeseen circumstance were to arise. 

“We would constantly be changing it,” she said. 

It was noted that budget amendments should be made throughout the year, instead of this close to a new fiscal year. McBee proposed setting a more consistent schedule for amendments. Keith Whitfield said that his recommendation would be to do it every six months. This item is expected to be added to the agenda for the August meeting. 

Other business

Discussion on the repairs made to the wastewater system the previous week informed council members that a valve had been replaced and that the waters are testing fine. There is an inspection on the system scheduled for next month. Possible rate increases were discussed as well, but council members were ensured that citizens would be affected by it. 

The Parks and Recreation Department was not present to discuss an update, but it was suggested that a separate meeting be held for that, outside of council. Multiple council members expressed a discontent for that due to space needs and the fact that they are governed by the council.

“I think they should report to us here,” Isabel Mcbee said.

An Assessment Agreement between the City of Rosebud and Falls County Appraisal District was approved. THis states that Falls CAD agrees to calculate Effective and Rollback Rates once Rosebud's Certified Values have been received. This is a yearly process and an official contract will be presented to council when necessary. 

Minutes from the June 15 council meeting and all of June 2020 bills were approved. 

The Rosebud News

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Marlin, TX 76661
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