JULY 16, 2013

A meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia was called to order at 9:00 A.M., Tuesday, July 16, 2013, in the new Citizen Service Center, located at 3111 Citizens Way, Columbus, Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor presiding.

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PRESENT: Present other than Mayor Tomlinson and Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh were Councilors Mike Baker, Berry H. Henderson, Bruce Huff, Judy W. Thomas and Evelyn Woodson. City Manager Isaiah Hugley, City Attorney Clifton Fay, Clerk of Council Tiny B. Washington and Deputy Clerk Sandra Davis were also present. Councilor Jerry “Pops” Barnes took his seat at the Council table at 9:05 a.m. Councilor R. Gary Allen took his seat at the Council table at took his seat at the Council table at 9:54 a.m.
----------------------------------------*** *** ***-------------------------------------ABSENT: Councilors Glenn Davis and Charles E. McDaniel, Jr. was absent.

----------------------------------------*** *** ***-------------------------------------INVOCATION: Led by Reverend Dr. E. Jones Doughton, Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church.
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PLEDGE: Led by the Puddle Jumpers Childcare Center.
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Mayor Tomlinson said we have several items that were made referrals where the Council has requested additional information on various subjects of importance to the City.

She said we have proposed this ordinance which has been on the agenda several times, but said we wanted to make sure that we got the input that the Council feels that they need to move forward. She then asked if there was any of the department heads who was present today and wanted to be heard on this matter, but there were none.

Mayor Tomlinson said we have received a furry of emails from various department heads and then opened up the floor for discussion from members of the Council.

Several members of the Council expressed their views regarding this proposed ordinance.

After the members of Council expressed their views and comments, City Manager Hugley then responded to questions of members of the Council
regarding this proposed ordinance, pointing out that department heads would still
be able to go through a process to make line item adjustments and can move from
one line item to another, but they just cannot exceed their total bottom line budget.

Mayor Tomlinson then asked if there was anyone else who wanted to speak to
this subject, but there were none.

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCL GRANT AND HOME REHAB PROGRAM:_______________________________________________________

Mayor Tomlinson said at our last meeting, we had an informative discussion on this matter and said that the Council has asked for additional information.

Director of Community Reinvestment Amy Carbajal came forward and pointed out that at the last Council meeting there was a request made for her to go back and determine whether or not if there was a way for us to maintain the Homeowner Rehab Program, which due to budget constraints she had recommended that we
eliminate. She said she have spoken with our sub-recipient, Neighbor Works about whether or not they would be interested in taking over that program for us, and said they are not interested in doing that program for us. She said she don’t believe that Wynnton Neighborhood Housing has the capacity to take on the project either; which leaves us just with an internal program. She said she just wanted to go through her budget with the Council and said that she has a few examples that hopefully will illustrate why she is making the recommendation that she is. She said she has done a comparison from last year’s budget to this year’s budget.

Councilor Huff then asked Ms. Carbajal if she has spoken with Wynnton Neighborhood Housing about the possibility of them taking over the program, to which she said she has not. Ms. Carbajal said the current year that we are working in with them; they are already on a limited expenditure basis with us. She said she has concerns about their capacity to fulfill existing obligations and she also has concerns about their capacity to take on the funding that has been allocated to them for this year. She said she has had discussions with them, whereby they will not release all the funds for this year until they can complete some of the projects that they have left over from last year.

She said what has happened is they have inventory that they have had a really difficult time moving and said that HUD has a time frame on that. She said if they don’t get some money in those homes HUD is going to request repayment on all of that. She said she don’t believe they have the capacity for that and she can’t put them in a position to put more houses out there.

Councilor Huff said he didn’t want her to put them in that position; he simply wanted to know if she has spoken with them about the same offer she afforded to Neighbor Works to take over that program for us. He said he and Councilor Barnes has worked with Wynnton Neighborhood Housing and said he just wondered if that discussion has taken place, and they had an opportunity to say they are having a problem putting bodies in houses and we can’t take on anymore.

Councilor Barnes then asked Ms. Carbajal if she has spoken with the individuals at Wynnton Neighborhood Housing about her concerns; and said he would like for her to engage in a dialogue with them with regards to giving then an opportunity as far as the Homeowner Rehab Program because they have done a lot in the community.

City Manager Hugley said as Ms. Carbajal has indicated, she can have that discussion with them, but said as Director, he want to make sure it’s clear that if she goes beyond what she feels comfortable with, with an organization and that organization is not able to meet the requirements of HUD; then HUD will demand repayment. He said if HUD demands repayment because they have not be able to do and she saw warnings sign; then, it is not Neighbor Works or any other organization’s responsibility to repay, but it would be the City of Columbus that would have to make the repayment.

He said there are some organizations that might apply for dollars and indicated that they can do this, and we see that they can’t do it; then, we won’t take the risk on the backs of the City or the taxpayers. He said even if they say yes, based on what she needs, she may still say, I don’t think so. He said that will be our recommendation to you, but said we will always be guided by your directions.

Discussion continued on this matter with several members of the Council expressing further concerns regarding this matter, and Ms. Carbajal responding to questions of members of the Council.

After more than twenty-five minutes of discussion on this matter, Ms. Carbajal then went into some details in outlining the following information, as outlined below.

CDBG Allocation

2012/2013 CDBG

**After eliminating 1 position in Jan, 2013

2013/2014 CDBG
**After eliminating a second position July 2, 2013


2012/2013 HOME
2013/2014 HOME


Ms. Carbajal said due to the costs to repair these homes are no longer eligible for the program because the cost to repair probably exceeds the maximum, as well as they exceeded fifty percent of the value of the homes. She said because we can’t do those two homes; therefore, they are not eligible projects and any money you spend comes out of the Administrative Budget; and said she doesn’t have any money in her administrative budget. She said a lot of these homes comes back ineligible and said those costs have to come out of the administrative budget, and said she doesn’t have those funds.


Ms. Carbajal said that the HOME Program took a hit nationwide and said the reason why is because jurisidictions were not being prudent with their investments. She said they were making investments with sub-recipients and the sub-recipients were not following through and said HOME basically got their hands slapped; it was a punishment from Congress. She said this happened about three years ago; whereby the Washington Post did an article on this. She said the City of Columbus were not involved in that, but said it was a nationwide issue and Washington Post
brought it out to the public; and the response from Congress was swift and harsh and that is why they lost a lot of their HOME funding. She said a lot of rules have changed since that time; one which is developers’ capacity.
She said if you are working with developers and sub-recipients, you have to be prudent in determining whether or not they have the capacity to complete the program. She said this is a hard and fast rule past by HUD a year and a half ago and they have implemented that.

Much discussion continued on the Homeowner Rehab Program with members of the Council, as well as Mayor Tomlinson expressing strong views regarding this matter and what the intent of this particular program when it was first implemented; after which Ms. Carbajal responded to questions and concerns of the Mayor and Council.


Ms. Carbajal said this information was brought to the Council during the Budget Review Committee and she had said that if the program receives additional cuts from HUD this year, the results will most likely be in the following areas:


After more than an hour and a half of discussion on this presentation, with the Mayor and members of the Council expressing many concerns and questions regarding the Homeowner Rehab program, Ms. Carbajal then responded to questions of members of the Council and then said her recommendation today is that we put the Homeowner Rehab program on hold for a year; finish the projects that we are in the process of finishing.

After the conclusion of her presentation, members of the Council continued to expressed their further views and concerns, with Ms. Carbajal responding to questions. She said

and then wait throughout that we then re-evaluate the viability of the program when funding allocations are announced in 2014 for the next fiscal year.

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David Arrington, Deputy City Manager came forward and gave a detailed presentation regarding the Transportation Special Purpose Sales Tax, as it relates to the Timing of Disbursement, as well as the Funding/Criteria, as outlined below. OVERVIEW
Recommended Allocation Process
Recommended Project Selection Criteria
Fiscal Year 2014 Recommendation
Process Timeline




Bridge/Culvert Repairs and Maintenance






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With there being no other business to come before the Council, Mayor Tomlinson then entertained a motion for adjournment. Councilor Barnes so moved. Seconded by Councilor Woodson and carried unanimously by those eight members of Council present for this meeting, with Councilors Davis and McDaniel being absent, with the time of adjournment being 11:33 a.m.

Tiny B. Washington, MMC
Clerk of Council
The Council of Columbus, Georgia