Sandy Springs continued steps necessary for the award of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the federal government although officials said it’s probably only a matter of time before the city no longer qualifies for the funds.
Funding can be used on projects within areas of the city that would assist households that are low- to moderate-income, Planning and Zoning Manager Michelle McIntosh-Ross told Sandy Springs City Council during its March 15 work session.
“I need to kind of let Council know … we’re not sure how much longer we’re going to be an entitlement city for CDBG,” Mayor Rusty Paul said. “And we need to keep in mind that [if] we start projects with CDBG and then we come off the entitlement list, we’ll have to finish anything we start with city money.”
Funds can only be awarded if an area’s average income is 80% of the area median income.
“We have very limited places in town that we can utilize the funds and that the utilization areas are shrinking,” Paul said. That limits it to the north end and a few projects being finished in the south end.
He said the approximately $600,000 the city has gotten annually is not a lot, but staff has done a good job of anticipating what projects may be done while the city is still eligible for funding.
The city’s 2022 action plan, a requirement of the program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), includes continuing the design and construction of sidewalks on the west side of Roswell Road from Long Island Drive to Stewart Drive, and from Steward Drive to Northwood Drive. Connections are proposed along Long Island and Northwood.
The plan also proposes a Hope Road sidewalk project that would provide a connection from Roswell Road to Dunwoody Place.
The city also continues to pay back an $8 million Section 108 loan from HUD. The loan program gives CDBG recipients the ability to leverage their annual grant allocation to access low-cost, flexible financing for economic development, housing, public facility and infrastructure projects. McIntosh-Ross said the city will have the loan repaid by 2030, and has paid it down to $3.5 million.