Council: Fire Station 2, Habitat
project spending focus of special session

April 11, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times In a special session to meet at least one grant deadline the City Council-sans members Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales, who were absent-unanimously agreed to spend about $200,000 in federal funds to expand Fire Station 82 and help fund an eight-unit Habitat for Humanity housing project. 

According to the report by Fire Chief Rick Araiza, Fire Station 82-located on West Main Street next to the Community Center-will be expanded to include dormitory space for four firefighters to be built at the back of the structure. The current dormitory space is at the front of the station and will be converted to office space.

The project, expected to cost between $125,000 and $130,000-will allow more privacy for firefighters. 

Community Development Block Grant funding will pay for the project, which is slated to begin almost immediately.

In a second action the council allocated $71,606 in Community Development Block Grant funding for the construction of eight homes for purchase by low-income families on Cemetery Road. 

The homes will be built by the not-for-profit organization Habitat for Humanity, which requires qualifying families to donate sweat equity as well as the purchase price of the homes.

According to the report by Elisabeth Amador, assistant to the city manager, the County of Ventura is contributing about $500,000 to the project and noting the challenges being faced by Habitat for the balance of the funding, has requested the city to provide monies.

The city had originally set the funds aside for its Rehabilitation Program that provides grants and loans to low-income individuals to upgrade and repair their homes. Paniagua’s report noted that the city had to spend the funds by the June 30 CDBG expenditure deadline or risk forfeiting them. 

A portion of the grant will come back to the city: the $71,606 will help Habitat fund extensive infrastructure improvements-including widening the street and adding curbs, gutters and street lighting, among others-as well as offset payment of the city’s required development impact fees.

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