The Wildomar City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 11, discussed how to dole out federal funding it received for the 2018-2019 fiscal year among four non-profits that had applied to receive some of the funding.
Four community groups had requested a total of $60,750 in Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding the city had received, but the council was only authorized to give 14 percent of its $147,699 in funding, or $20,677 to those groups.
With Councilmember Dustin Nigg absent, the council voted 4-0 to give $9,000 to the Assistance League of Temecula Valley, $9,000 to Helping Our People of Elsinore, Inc. and $2,677 to Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services.
The Assistance League of Temecula Valley sought the funding for Operation School Bell, which provides low income students in grade school with the chance to buy school appropriate clothing and shoes; Helping Our People of Elsinore for food pantry services, which it provides to those living in Lake Elsinore Unified School District boundaries; and Rancho Damacitas for its SOAR program, which provides enrichment activities for foster youth.
A fourth organization, Merit Housing, Inc., which is associated with the Wildomar Assisted Senior Living Facility on South Pasadena street, also applied for funding to pay for the portion of salary for a senior center activities director and for transportation of seniors to and from errands. The organization was not granted any funds.
During the meeting Councilmember Marsha Swanson reasoned that while Rancho Damacitas does good work to help foster youth within the region, its efforts were spread out across a variety of cities whereas the Assistance League and Helping Our People of Elsinore were in a better position to specifically impact the people of Wildomar.
Swanson also raised concerns about Merit Housing, Inc., saying the council had had difficulty getting ahold of the organization in the past and had trouble getting it to open up its facility as a cool enter for people during the hot summer months.
“They have to have the air on for their people, and they have the room, and we never can seem to get any cooperation and they don’t come here,” Swanson said. “And to give them money to raise someone’s salary doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
CDBG funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and cities such as Wildomar can apply to the Riverside County Economic Development Agency to receive them.
Initially, Helping Our People of Elsinore asked for $25,000, The Assistance League asked for $15,000, Merit Housing asked for $10,750 and Rancho Damacitas asked for $10,000.
For a non-profit organization or service project to qualify, it must meet one of three national program objectives: It must provide a benefit to low or moderate income people, it must eliminate slums or blight, or meet urgent community development needs because of natural disasters or other emergencies.
The remaining $127,002 of funding will go the the “Mission Trail Sidewalk Project” in the Sedco Hills area of the city. The funds will be added to previous CDBG allotments and will pay for the construction and improvement of sidewalks.
Also during the meeting, the city council approved a professional services agreement with RRM Design Group to be the designers of a community park that will be built on 27 acres of land near Ronald Reagan Elementary School.
Wildomar accepted the park land and $300,000 to develop it in November of 2013 and then adopted a city-wide parks master plan in April of 2015.
“The scope that’s before you, primarily at this phase, is all about community input,” said Assistant City Manager Dan York.
He noted that there will be three community workshops where people can review sample templates and voice what they would like to see in a park.
A finalized plan and estimated cost for the park will be brought before the council at a later point in time, York said.
The council also unanimously approved Mayor Pro-Tem Ben Benoit’s appointment of Wildomar resident Mason Ballard as a planning commissioner for the city. Ballard will fill a vacancy left by Stan Smith, who died in August.