It's been a long time and the city of Dunkirk is still working on some changes to how it handles some federal funding.
The Dunkirk Local Development Corporation Board of Directors met Wednesday to approve resolutions to bring the city and DLDC into compliance with Department of Housing and Urban Development rules and procedures when it handles funds from the Community Development Block Grant program.
First up was a resolution formally establishing a job monitoring packet that the DLDC and Development Department have been using.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
The Dunkirk Local Development Corporation approved Fredonia resident Peggy Szczukowski to run the city’s Farmer’s Market in 2014.
"This information is what we will use to monitor previous loans as well as any new loans we may give out. ... It's just come to our attention HUD would like the DLDC board to formally adopt these as our official job monitoring packet," Development Director Steve Neratko explained.
Board member Joseph Becerra asked if HUD approved the packet.
"HUD has taken a look at it and has given us the verbal OK," Neratko replied. "We have been utilizing this."
After making sure the resolution dealt with job creation and retention, the board gave its approval.
The next resolution was a result of another request from HUD, as it will confirm the source of funding for loans. Listed on the resolution were loans to Demetri's on the Lake loan number one; G&E Tents; Lightning circuits and Paradis Fence.
"Due to the commingling of funds, from Jan. 1 2014 on we will be considering all our loan programs to be HUD and CDBG funded," Neratko stated. "To make sure that we have that, they have asked us to make sure we confirm this as part of a resolution."
Board member Judy Presutti asked if money paid back goes into a revolving fund.
"We were not under the assumption they were HUD funded loans so that was not happening; they were just going into the general account," Neratko replied. "As of January of this year, they will be going into the CDBG-HUD account for future programming. As of right now we can't give out any loans but when we can the money will be there to use. All loans that the DLDC operates will be considered HUD going forward, not going backwards, going forwards."
Board member Rosemary Banach asked if there would be no more DLDC loans.
"They're all considered DLDC loans, they'll just be funded with CDBG. Prior, we had two separate loan funds; they will just be combined into one DLDC/CDBG loan fund so they'll all be treated the same going forward," Neratko replied. "Future funding will have to meet HUD/CDBG guidelines, that does give us some structure to the loan program going forward. We considered them to be HUD loans and CDBG loans and non-CDBG loans all under the DLDC. ... Unfortunately what we were considering was wrong. The funds were commingled for a dozen years now, so really all the funds should have been considered HUD all along."
Banach pressed the point about what funds the four loans came from, but Neratko said the city could not prove they weren't HUD.
"They never should have been separate," he added.
Fiscal Affairs Officer Richard Halas said all funding is now coming from HUD.
"It's supposed to be like a revolving loan and even the loans that are being paid back now, the old ones, all that's going into a HUD account that we control," he explained. "Nothing else is going to be taken out of there except the loans. The sole purpose of that account is for loans."
Halas said it wasn't designated which of two funds the loans came from nor where repayment was supposed to go.
"It was being put into a couple various funds," Halas explained. "Some of it into DLDC general and operating checking accounts, some of it was going into HUD. Now we have one designated fund, end of story."
Neratko added if a non-HUD funding source is found for grants that won't necessarily be considered HUD funding.
"This is just stating these four loans were the four that we did not consider to be HUD loans previously, but they will be going forward because they should have been all along," he explained. "Basically for our record keeping purposes, this is just acknowledging that fact."
Along with the two HUD-related resolutions, the board authorized Neratko, Halas and Mayor Anthony J. Dolce as signatories for the DLDC's HUD checking account.
Two other resolutions were approved, both dealing with warm-weather activities.
Fredonia resident Peggy Szczukowski was approved to run the Dunkirk Farmer's Market in 2014. She will have a budget of $10,000 to be disbursed from allocated funds from the Chautauqua County Health Network and DLDC partnership. Neratko noted that despite advertising, Szczukowski was the only applicant.
The Health Network is also a part of the final resolution which approved the temporary placement of a small bicycle shed on the DLDC-owned former Bertges property, as it provided the funding. Rich Goodman and Spoke Folk, which is affiliated with the Health Network, will operate the site for the purpose of making bicycle repairs available on the waterfront. The site could also help with public relations and information for visitors to the city.
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