Members of the Bellevue City Council last week discussed possible funding to support a housing rehabilitation program via a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) administered through the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Housing Rehabilitation Fund.
This, after the city’s Housing Task Force recommended that the council consider the program. Members say that with Bellevue’s aging housing stock, 32 homes in the south central part of the city have been identified as potential candidates for the program.
Bellevue City Clerk and Administrator Abbey Skrivseth explained that the CDBG funding is a competitive grant, and the process would require an income survey for those interested. She added that 12 interested properties would be selected, but only six properties would be awarded the grant.
The maximum grant per house would be $24,999, unless the city decides to consider a local match to make the program more attractive.
Jackson County Economic Alliance advisor Dave Heiar said that the Bellevue would not have to pay administrative costs for the ECIA to assist, as it would be covered under the grant program, therefore, a local match might make the grant application more attractive, and would bring the potential up past $30,000 for each renovation.
Discussion was held on the local match and where the funding might come from. Bellevue Mayor Roger Michels said he was not in favor of raising taxes in order to provide funding for the proposal, so he is hoping funding would come from a different source if the city were to pursue the opportunity.
While no action was taken on the rehabilitation program as a whole, councilman Roth moved with a second by Michels to move forward with an income survey to see if the City would even qualify for the grant. The motion carried unanimously.
Bellevue city leaders have worked to address housing shortages and the shortage of new lots to build on, including plans to develop a proposed subdivision on the Stamp property south of town.
The city’s housing task force concluded that work also should be done to preserve existing homes.
For the CBDG funding, certain parameters must be met for Bellevue to qualify. An income survey needs to be completed for any specific neighborhood to see if it meets the guidelines of the grant, which is for homes owned by lower-income residents.
Officials also must reach out to homeowners in the area to see if they are interested if funding is secured.
While uncertain on how it will turn out, city leaders say the program and others like it could help bring new life to Bellevue’s aging housing stock.
In other business at last week’s meeting, Skrivseth announced that the City will receive a $200,000 Water Recreation Cost Share Program grant for maintenance work on the existing boat ramp at the municipal lot south of Lock and Dam 12. She is working with IIW Engineers for more information on what the project will actually cost, and will have more information at the council’s February meeting.