Council can OK block grant legislation


The Common Council will be able to approve legislation at its meeting Wednesday to submit the city’s 2018 federal Community Development Block Grant application. The city is expecting to receive $916,910 in funding from the federal Dapartment of Housing and Urban Development.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. Prior to the meeting, at 6:50 p.m., the lawmakers will have a public hearing on the city’s proposed 2018 emergency operations plan.

The Community Development Block Grant allocation will continue to help develop and improve downtown as well as the program’s target areas, according to the proposed legislation.

“This also allows the city to leverage funding sources to provide a more substantial impact in the community,” the legislation states. The city wants to dedicate a portion of its economic development funding for the Commercial Facade program. Public facilities funding would include handicapped accessible pedestrian improvements and streetscapes, as well as improvements at community parks.

There is also funding to assist in managing slum and blight through targeted building demolitions. Public services funding would go to non-profit programming city-wide.

The funding breakdown is proposed as:

  • $500,000 for public facilities. That’s up from last year’s allotment of $481,910.
  • $100,000 for economic development. That’s unchanged.
    • $73,528 for slum and blight. That’s down from $100,000.
  • $60,000 for public services. That’s unchanged.
  • $183,382 for program administration. That’s up from $175,000.

The council will hold a public hearing at 6:50 p.m. in the council chambers for legislation approving the city’s 2018 emergency operations plan submitted by Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo and Public Safety Commissioner Frank Retrosi. The legislation cannot be approved until after the public hearing.

The document is meant to “ensure that mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery actions exist so that public welfare and safety is preserved,” the legislation states. “The primary role of government is to provide for the welfare of its citizens, and the welfare and safety of citizens is never more threatened than during disasters.”

The plan outlines how the city would react to natural or man-made disasters, including roles and responsibilities. It also addresses interaction with local, state, federal and private organizations. Disasters range from storms, fires, landslides and flooding to hazardous materials in transit, transportation accidents and failure at the Delta dam.

The plan notes that the city’s central fire station at 158 Black River Blvd. would be the headquarters during a “devastating storm event or other type of disaster,” where representatives of responding departments will meet. In the event that station has been “negatively affected,” the Laurel Street fire station or alternative location can be designated.

The agenda also includes the annual contracts with two local volunteer fire departments for additional fire protection coverage at the edges of the city.

Each year, the city signs one-year contracts with the Stanwix Heights and Lake Delta volunteer fire departments. Lake Delta helps cover parts of north Rome. Stanwix Heights helps cover south Rome. In recent years, the city paid each department $4,000 for the services. Last year, the administration’s new version of the contracts did not include the $4,000 payment because the city had been paying the departments’ workers compensation claims for incidents when they were covering Rome. Last year, the city paid out $83,229.97, half from one claim. This year, the terms are the same: no $4,000 payment but continued workers compensation coverage.

There is also a local law proposed to change an aspect of the purchasing policy, but a public hearing has to be scheduled and then held before a vote. The proposal is to adopt a policy allowing the city to choose a bidder based on other factors besides simply the lowest bid if it includes such factors in the initial bid process. This is called “best value competitive bidding.”


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