What happens if you call a city meeting and no one shows up? You get stuck talking to RacinePost for a half hour.
Joe Heck, assistant director of development for the city, called a meeting of the 16-member Community Development Committee Wednesday night and not a single committee member attended. (See the members here.)
Heck had hoped to review guidelines for awarding CDBG stimulus money before the committee meets Thursday to make some decisions on how to spend about $534,384 in federal money.
The extra money, which came through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, can only be used for specific purposes, Heck explained.
At least 70 percent of the money needs to benefit low-income and moderate-income persons, households and areas. Up to 15 percent can be used for public services, and 10 percent can go for administration and planning.
Heck said the city has two proposals to spend the money. One calls for spending $400,000 to convert about 800 city street lights to energy-efficient LED lights and the other would set aside $80,000 to train 14- to 24-year-olds for green jobs in the community (like retrofitting homes for energy savings). The remaining money would go for grant administration, Heck said.
Other proposals from the community are expected to be submitted Thursday to the committee, Heck said. The committee will need to make a quick decision on the money. The grant application is due a week from Friday and the submitted projects need City Council approval on Tuesday.
Heck said the federal government gave cities around the country a month to submit their CDBG applications.
The CDBG committee is holding an unusual Thursday night meeting - it starts at 7 p.m. to accommodate RCEDC's annual meeting, which is also Thursday - to make some decisions on the money and several other items on the agenda.
Heck had hoped to help the meeting along by giving an information briefing to committee members on Wednesday.
Instead, it looks like the commission will be working Thursday night on the fly.