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CDCC Minutes, March 14, 2005

Call to Order:

Chairperson Jaramillo called the meeting to order at 6:33PM.

  1. Roll Call

    Members Present:

    Jo Ann Brannock, Ph.D.
    Kitty Jaramillo
    Denise Jensen-Purser
    Barbara J. Leon
    Judy Givens

    MEMBERS ABSENT:

    Robert Elliott
    Barbara Bambrook
    Irene Moreno-Sandy

    Staff Present:

    Linda R. Morad, Housing Programs Supervisor
    Guillermina Torrico, Clerical Assistant III

  2. Approval Of Minutes

    A MOTION was made by Committee Member Jensen-Purser, SECONDED by Committee Member Brannock, and CARRIED by members present to approve the Minutes of February 9, 2005 and February 28, 2005, as written.

  3. 2005-06 City Department Presentations

    Chairperson Jaramillo welcomed City Staff and explained that the presentations should be limited to ten minutes, with five minutes presenting their proposal and the additional five minutes allotted for a question/answer session with the Committee. She explained that anyone addressing the committee must introduce themselves for the record.

    Presentations began at 6:39PM.

    Applicant: Community Services Department
    Project: Fullerton Community Centers
    Request: $100,000

    Presenting for Community Services was Pat Trotter, Manager of Human Services. She introduced Rosemary Castro and Eddie Burciaga who staff these two community centers. She said the funding would allow both Valencia and Garnet Community Centers to operate 40 hours per week for a full year with a Community Services Coordinator at each site. She announced that two speakers representing each center would address the committee to share their experiences, perspectives, and contributions.

    Acela Lopez introduced herself as the President of the Valencia Task Force, a mother to a seven-year old son, and an active member of the Valencia Community Center for eight years. She expressed having had a very positive experience with the center and spoke about her participation in programs like Mexican folkloric dance, leadership training, CPR classes, posadas, arts and crafts, and parenting classes. She was happy that her son was able to participate in the YMCA after-school program.

    She described the programs as valuable because residents could not afford to pay for taking these types of classes. She said that these help many people and should they not be available at this center, they would have to seek resources elsewhere. She shared her appreciation for having had the opportunity to take leadership training classes which have provided motivation and personal growth to her and her family. She concluded by saying that this center is vital in the development of this community and asked the committee to please continue supporting it.

    Rachel Nixon, introduced herself as a volunteer at Garnet Community Center currently volunteering in many programs but primarily acting as a mentor and running the tutoring program. Mrs. Nixon said that she and her husband want to be active members in this center and foster relationships in order to better help these families. She said that for this reason, they decided that the best way to do this was to move into the neighborhood.

    Mrs. Nixon said that this has helped them build relationships and strategically work on improving the quality of life for these people and the children they tutor. She provided an example of two sisters who came to the center a few years back, one of which had an incredibly bad attitude and was having problems at school due to language barriers and basically described herself as stupid. Currently, this girls academic, social skills, and self-esteem have improved 100% as well as her relationship with her family. Mrs. Nixon acknowledged that they cannot solely take credit for these improvements but does want to believe that participation in this center had some influence. She asked the CDCC to please consider funding once again to prevent closure of this center.

    Q&A:

    Q: Committee Member Brannock asked what specific programs are offered at this center.
    A: Ms. Trotter listed programs like computer classes, English-as-a-Second Language classes, fitness, and tutoring via the YMCA.

    Q: Committee Member Jensen-Purser asked why the General Fund doubled for the Community Centers but was cut out for the Tool Bank. She then asked if the cuts might force the Tool Bank to be totally eliminated.
    A: Ms. Trotter explained that the Community Services Department has a real commitment to this program and has made a decisive effort to try to keep the community centers running. Ms. Trotter stated that if funding is not available, yes, the Tool Bank could potentially go away.

    Q: Committee Member Givens asked if the $100,000 provided in funding was split 50/50 between the two centers.
    A: Ms. Trotter stated that there is an attempt to make this happen. However, due to costs being incurred at different times, there might not necessarily be a 50/50 distribution.

    Q: Committee Member Brannock asked if Community Services could provide a job description of the positions for which funding is being requested.
    A: Ms. Trotter said that copies would be provided to Ms. Morad next week.

    Ms. Trotter, concluded by speaking about the Youth In Action group and how successful they have been at identifying the needs of the community and working effectively with City staff and the City Council to find ways to meet these needs. She was impressed with them in knowing who should be contacted at City Hall and in the fact that they place calls, not as complaints, but rather to address the issues and offer solutions.

    Applicant: Community Services Department
    Project: Fullerton Tool Bank
    Request $52,680

    Presenting the Tool Bank project was Eloisa Espinoza, Community Center Supervisor for Community Services Department at Lemon Park. Ms. Espinoza distributed the project budget to the Committee.

    Ms. Espinoza stated that the Tool Bank is one of the many amenities at Lemon Park and has been serving the community since1978. She stated that the Tool Banks mission is to promote home improvement, neighborhood pride, and home safety.

    She advised that the Tool Bank provides a variety of tools and equipment to residents living in the HCD-eligible neighborhoods at no charge. Examples of equipment offered include hand and power tools, power mowers, edgers, blowers, drain cleaners, ladders, roto tillers, etc. She stated that their program promotes and encourages the homeowners' responsibility to keep their homes and lawns clean and safe and at the same time it maintains or increases their property value. She also informed the committee that they have a library of instructional books to help homeowners with their projects and also provide "How To" workshops.

    She indicated that the Tool Bank is operated by the Tool Bank representative. His responsibilities include customer service, monitoring the check out and return system, offering instruction to the borrowers, purchasing new equipment, and making minor repairs. He also maintains equipment inventory and the monthly statistic report. She reported that from July 2005 to date, the Tool Bank has served 679 duplicated residents.

    Ms. Espinoza provided the Tool Banks hours as follows: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 8am 12pm; Friday and Saturdays 8am 4pm.

    Ms. Espinoza concluded by saying that taking into consideration the fiscal budget situation and the future of these programs they will be looking at other alternatives for funding for the upcoming years, but for this year, the Tool Bank is requesting for $52,680.

    Q&A:

    Q: Committee Member Brannock asked for the number of hours that the Tool Bank is open each week and if the Tool Bank Representative works the same number of hours
    A: Ms. Espinoza said that it is open 28 hours which is the same number of hours the Tool Bank Representative works each week.

    Q: Chairperson Jaramillo asked if the Tool Bank solicits funds from places like Home Depot, Lowe's, and other home improvement companies or if these companies ever make donations.
    A: Ms. Espinoza said that they have not received donations in the past. She added that they have never had a need to solicit funds from these agencies in the past since funding from CDBG had always been available. Ms. Trotter interjected that this is something that can be explored. Ms. Espinoza said that they do have volunteers that come in to assist the residents.

    Q: Committee Member Jensen Purser asked if it is possible to seek outside funding.
    A: Ms. Espinoza said no outside funding has been identified at this time but they will have to research and pursue options that are available for the future.

    Q: Committee Member Brannock asked Ms. Trotter why they dont have a community center on the west side of Fullerton.
    A: Ms. Trotter responded that she has been approached with requests for a center on the west side but it has always been a struggle to keep the existing two open with all of the operation costs. She said a third one on the West side has never been financially feasible.

    Applicant: Maintenance Services
    Project: Graffiti Removal Program
    Request $28,190

    Presenting for Maintenance Services was Rick Stock, Building and Maintenance Supervisor. He described this project as a city-wide anti-graffiti program that removes graffiti from public, private, and municipal property. He reported that 251,843 square feet of graffiti was removed from over 1,700 sites in fiscal year 2003-2004. Of this square footage, 190,315 square feet of graffiti was removed in CDBG areas. Graffiti is removed from public and private property when visible to the public.

    Mr. Stock reported that 80% of their graffiti removal requests come from their 7-day, 24-hour graffiti hotline and the remaining come in from daily calls or staff observations. Mr. Stock said they receive an average of 3.5 calls per day, and on average, they receive up to 20-30 calls each Monday. He said these many calls shows how the city really benefits from this program. He said that with the constant and threatening cuts of the general funds, this CDBG funding is essential.

    Q&A:

    Q: Committee Member Brannock asked why the funding request was more this year.
    A: Mr. Stock said that this past year they increased their percentage area. Mr. Stock stated that all graffiti is removed by one person and CDBG funding will help with truck, materials, staffing costs, and helps with the general funds which have been cut this year.

    Q: Committee Members discussed how this program is doing such a good job and they cannot cut back because as seen in other cities, when this happens properties quickly deteriorate.
    A: Mr. Stock said that they are fortunate to have excellent staff and good dispatch. The departments goal is to remove graffiti within three days and they are now removing at 1 days.

    Q: Committee Member Brannock asked if they ever catch the people doing the crime.
    A: Mr. Scott said that it is hard to say. The majority of the crimes are committed in the middle of the night where there are no witnesses.

    Applicant: Development Services Code Enforcement Project: Code Enforcement Program Request $446,650

    Kirke Warren, Code Enforcement Supervisor, provided a PowerPoint presentation on the request for funding for the 2005-2006 Code Enforcement Program. He described Code Enforcement as a program which addresses blight through the abatement of public nuisances, investigation of substandard housing, investigation and resolution of citizen complaints regarding vehicles, property maintenance, animals, zoning and signs, enforces the news rack ordinance, administers the food vendors program, performs twice yearly weed abatement inspections.

    Mr. Warren reported on Proactive Code Enforcement Program created at City Council direction. He explained that the proactive program is in eight designated low/moderate income areas and to facilitate access for the residents, a permanent office has been established in the Valencia Community Center and is staffed with two officers. He stated that at the completion of the proactive phase, this office could be maintained as the base for all of the code enforcement activities in the central/southern area of the city. He explained that this program is now designed as a three-year program but in his opinion will require constant maintenance.

    He reported that out of the 750 developed parcels in this area, 436 inspections have been completed. He indicated that 1,600 violations were found and 279 cases were closed as of today.

    He spoke about how all officers are starting a proactive enforcement program in all areas and especially in the GEMS area and in areas with ongoing issues.

    Mr. Warren displayed before-and-after pictures depicting the success of the program and also supporting his belief for a constant need for maintenance. He stated that the funding being requested would provide for four Code Enforcement Officers positions, half of the supervisor and clerk position, and cover support and overhead.

    Q&A:

    Q: Chairperson Jaramillo asked if the administrative citations produce any revenue.
    A: Mr. Warren explained that the revenue is not very significant. He reported that in 2003-2004 $6,415 was collected.

    Q: Chairperson Jaramillo mentioned that when she was employed by the City of Fullerton they had a day or two where MG disposal donated a bin and they had it situated for residents to clean up and use this bin to clean up the neighborhood.
    A: Mr. Warren explained that it is a great idea but MG Disposal had issues with the bin being manned at all times. He added that with the areas almost completed they would not have the manpower to watch the bin.

    Q: Chairperson Jaramillo suggested then that the bin be used when moving to new areas.
    A: Mr. Warren reported that Area 8 was just completed today since Area 7 was skipped because it is an apartment-complex, multi-family unit area. In other words, his rationale is that Area 8 is the last area and he is not sure how beneficial a bin would be at this point. He did suggest that it could be used in the future since these areas will have major maintenance issues.

    Applicant: Development Services Housing and Community Development
    Projects: 1. Rehabilitation Program
    2. Housing and Community Development Administration
    Request: 1. $396,350
    2. $360,060

    Ms. Morad presented the two projects for Housing and Community Development. She began with Housing Rehabilitation portion and introduced Sylvia Chavez, Housing Programs Assistant. Ms. Morad explained that Ms. Chavez administers the rehabilitation program and Guillermina Torricos time is split between the Rehabilitation program and Housing Administration/Affordable Housing Programs.

    Ms. Morad stated that this years Rehabilitation application is asking for $609,350 which includes $146,350 for the administration and $250,000 for project costs.

    She reviewed the Project Expenditures over the last seven years. She explained that 2002-2003 was lower partly due because the department did not have an inspector for the first few months. There were also lead-based requirements to put in place and staff had to attend workshops. The new regulations also added additional staff time and costs. These funds were depleted and as a result, the number of grants was higher.

    She reported that in 2003-2004 they awarded jobs totaling $372,074. Ms. Morad reviewed the amounts that are uncommitted as of March 2005 for each of the current programs totaling $659,500. She reminded the committee that the Block Improvement Grant (BIG) had been redesigned to assist with the Code Enforcement Program. However, what was found is that those being referred over by Code Enforcement have other issues that have prevented them from using the BIG program.

    She mentioned that they would like to revise an aspect of the Block Improvement Grant to include Code Enforcement Issues. She gave examples of Ms. Chavez finding applicants homes with un-permitted items and items that were not up to code.

    She reviewed the number of grants and loans provided and showed maps on Loans and Grants to indicate that the bulk of these projects were located in the south-central part of Fullerton. The breakdown was as follows:

    Low-Interest Loans 0
    Deferred Loans 1
    Emergency Housing Repair 6
    Mobile Home Loans 1
    Relocation Grants 3
    Housing Grants 41
    Lead-Hazard Reduction Grants 21
    TOTAL 73

    She reviewed the Rehabilitation Program budget for loans and grants with the current maximum assistance amounts. Ms. Morad advised the CDCC that at this time the program is functioning without a Housing Rehabilitation Inspector because the pay rate is just not competitive with the current market and with other cities. She did state that the program has not stopped but it has been really slow for this reason.

    Ms. Morad reviewed the rehabilitation projects that the department worked on over the past year. She provided before and after pictures of the type of work that was done.

    • Entire House Rehabilitation: New paint, windows, roof, and fencing.
    • Repaired/repatched concrete, new patio cover, guard rail, and paint.
    • Removed hedges and new dog-eared fencing.
    • Kitchen remodel: Before kitchen had damaged plumbing and severe structural damage. Repairs were made and cabinets were installed, light fixtures, counters, etc.
    • New roof and exterior paint from an old roof that posed dangerous situation and a new driveway was created.
    • An electrical panel upgrade. Situation was a serious fire hazard waiting to happen due to panel not operating properly.
    • Handicap Access ramp built for a senior in a mobile home who had stairs that she was unable to climb.
    • Conversion of a tub to a shower to make more accessible to a handicap senior.

    Ms. Morad next reviewed the Housing Administration portion of the presentation. She stated that this department is responsible for management/administration of CDBG Program, HOME funds, and the Section 108 Program. The department provides guidance to all CDBG/HOME Funded Programs, administers the Citizen Participation Process (CDCC), the Housing Rehabilitation Program, and the Downpayment Assistance Program. Housing Administration is also responsible for monitoring program compliance by non-profit subrecipients, monitoring affordable housing projects annual inspections, and preparing required documents.

    Ms. Morad said the request for funding was for $360,060 and noted that the overhead had increased by $8,000 at the request of the Finance department.

    She reviewed the Neighborhood Housing Services (HOME Funded) project that was approved by City Council which will be turned into a home-ownership coop building and showed the Concept.

    Ms. Morad showed the Section 108 map and reminded the CDCC that this was the project Engineering presented to them at a prior meeting this year.

    She stated that Housing and Community Development is also responsible for completing documents like the Five-year Consolidated Plan, the One-Year Strategy/Action Plan, and the CP Annual Performance and Evaluation Reporting (CAPER). She announced that this years Five-year Plan should be done by the end of March or the beginning of April.

    Presentations concluded at 7:45PM.

    Staff distributed an Updated Report on 2004-05 Requests reflecting changes in Housing Admin overhead.

  4. PUBLIC COMMENT

    No public comment.

  5. ADJOURNMENT

    Chairperson Jaramillo adjourned meeting at 7:48PM.

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