Fox said city crews were under the gun to get CDBG funds spent before the end of October or face questions from federal authorities about being able to spend federal funds in a timely manner.
“HUD has a rule that you cannot have more than one and a half times your annual allocation in your HUD account and access a new round of funding,” Fox said. “We’ve got ’11 and ’12 funds in our account that are causing us to be so close, and we’ve got to spend $130,000 between now and the end of October to be within the HUD timeframe.”
Also on Wednesday, Rome Environmental Planner Eric Lindberg estimates it will cost a minimum of $3,000 to fix problems with the lower engine housings on both of the engines that power the Joel Sulzbacher Roman Holiday tour boat.
The boat has been hauled out of the water in the wake of an incident last weekend that stranded tourists in the Coosa River for a brief time before passengers could be ferried back to the dock at Heritage Park.
Lindberg suggested he may look into jet props for the engines as opposed to the traditional rotary props because of the continuing problems with underwater debris in the rivers combined with low flow.
A boat rental scheduled for Sunday was canceled, and Lindberg hopes the engines can be repaired before too many future rentals have to be scratched. Fall is typically a busy time of year for the Roman Holiday, but also a time when low flows in the rivers can create problems related to debris in the rivers.
Lindberg also told the panel that he’s continuing to have problems with water flow from the Oostanaula River into the heating and air conditioning system at the E.C.O. River Education Center in Ridge Ferry Park.
“The water that is coming into the building is really clogging the three inch line that feeds our system,” Lindberg said.
Rome City Manager John Bennett said engineers should look at using previously filtered city water to circulate through the E.C.O. center to run the air conditioning system.
Alos, the Community Development committee passed a proposed Community Development Block Grant Budget for 2013, totaling $383,844. The budget includes $100,000 for the Minor Repair program (as much as $5,000 per home) for elderly homeowners in the city; $155,000 for citywide sidewalk repairs; and $35,000 for demolition of substandard housing. Another $76,700 was designated for administration of the program and $17,144 will be held in contingency.
The Community Development office started taking applications for 2013 Moderate Repair funds (as much as $25,000 per home) earlier this month.
“We have been inundated with people coming in,” Fox said.
Well more than 30 applications have been picked up for fewer than ten homes that will be funded.
“We had to deny some right off the bat,” said Dedee Sanderson, program coordinator.
Some of the applicants did not meet the variety of eligibility requirements.
Moderate Repair funds come from the Community Home Investment program, apart from CDBG funds.