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Lakeway neighborhood to get lion’s share of county’s HUD funds

Friday, May 31, 2013 by Charlotte Moore

More money for better streets is on tap for the Lake Oak Estates neighborhood in the City of Lakeway. If approved, that’s where the largest chunk of Travis County’s dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will go next year.

At Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting, Christy Moffett, Community Development Block Grant Planning Project Manager, presented the Health and Human Services Department’s recommendations for spending the estimated $911,000 in entitlement money for its next round of projects.

The initial estimate of $851,524 presented to the court “was down 5 percent because of sequestration,” Moffett explained. “We took last year’s allocation of $896,000, took 5 percent off of that to get the estimate. But, because HUD did get a little additional funding for next year in the budget, and because we continue to grow in population, we actually will be receiving an increase.”

HUD money helps fund development projects in the unincorporated areas of Travis County and the village of Webberville; the money is used in urban communities to help people with low to moderate incomes.

Here’s a breakdown of where the money is expected to go (based on the original estimate 🙂

  • Street improvements in Lake Oak Estates:  $425,000
  • Home rehabilitation: $131,221 (plus an additional $33,885 of unallocated grant funds from last year)
  • Public Services (Social work:) $75,000
  • Fair Housing: $50,000
  • CDBG Administration and Planning: $170,303

These projects were decided based on a series of public hearings where participants voiced how they wanted to see the department invest the money. Five public hearings were held. Participants expressed a desire to see the money spent on infrastructure with community services, business and jobs, housing, public buildings and facilities and serving populations with specialized needs rounding out the top essential focus areas.

As alternative projects, the department recommended that up to $1 million be spent on homeowner rehabilitation and up to $480,000 be used to fund a sustainability site project for Las Lomitas – a neighborhood about 10 miles Southeast of Austin.

“Commissioners have to approve these projects before we release the draft action plan for public comment,” Moffett said. The item is on the agenda for June 11. If approved, the department will present its entire action plan the following Tuesday. A 30-day public comment period would commence on June 24 with two public hearings set for July 2 and 9. The court is required to approve the final action plan by Aug. 13. The plan is due to HUD by Aug. 15.

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