With approval earlier this month from the federal government, Minot city officials are laying out the details of the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery programs designed for flood recovery.
The city and its consultants have been working on the most immediate programs, including a first round of voluntary property acquisitions. These steps include a request for release of funds and a broad environmental review on all properties on the list identified by the city earlier this year. This process is expected to take until at least Sept. 20. The City anticipates the first voluntary property acquisitions could start in late September or early October. Homeowners interested and eligible for this program were offered purchase agreements this spring.
The city will use $6 million in CDBG-DR funds to match North Dakota State Water Commission funds intended to buy flooded properties that may be used for green space or flood access and control.
The CDBG-DR Action Plan provides more than $4.5 million to help about 70 low- to moderate-income households rehabilitate their flooded properties. The plan provides about $9.5 million to assist more than 60 low- to moderate-income households with reconstruction of their homes if they are not able to rehabilitate.
The city finance department is developing the details of those programs to present to the Minot City Council for consideration next month.
Requirements of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development do not allow CDBG-DR funds to be given as individual cash payments to homeowners or as expense reimbursement for homeowners who have incurred rebuilding costs. At least 51 percent of all project activities must benefit low- to moderate-income individuals or families. A family of six making at or less than $59,250, or a family of two making at or less than $40,850 would qualify for those projects.
Other housing projects being funded in the Action Plan are:
Purchase of 50 vacant lots to develop with affordable housing, $7.3 million.
Infrastructure for a new housing development outside the flood area with 51 percent affordable housing, $5 million.
Infrastructure for Minot Place Townhomes, consisting of 30 low- to moderate-income rental units in southeast Minot, $400,000.
"Imagine Downtown" downtown development parking facility to support for the development of about 54 affordable rental units, $3 million.
Infrastructure repairs to damaged and aged storm water sewers downtown to support affordable rental units, $2.4 million.
An amendment made this month to the CDBG-DR Action Plan eliminates $905,000 in funding for the Third Street Sewer System project and places this funding towards the master lift station, a critical component of flood recovery. The Third Street Sewer System project is going forward, but these improvements could not wait on processes involved with the CDBG-DR funding.
Other CDBG-DR funds will go to leverage dollars from the state and other sources to repair key infrastructure and public facilities that were affected by the 2011 Souris River flood. These projects involve sanitary sewer lift stations throughout the city, a landfill expansion, a northern sewer project development and a fire station to serve new housing developments. Total cost is more than $20 million.
A portion of the CDBG-DR funds will cover administrative and delivery costs associated with the projects, including environmental reviews and construction management. The City also has identified a need to allocate a portion of the funds for effective recovery planning. The grant allows the city to spend up to 20 percent of the funds on administration and planning. The City is proposing to spend just over $4.8 million, or 7.1 percent, on items such as an unmet needs assessment, an emergency disaster plan and additional temporary city staff.
The Action Plan for CDBG-DR funds can be viewed online at (www.minotrecoveryinfo.com).