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South Jordan Journal

ADA ramps focus of grant spending

May 02, 2022 08:32PM ● By Collin Leonard

By Collin Leonard | [email protected]

The South Jordan City Council held a public hearing on April 5 for the annual action plan using Community Development Block Grant funds.

CDBG is a grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the purpose of  developing “viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.”

HUD determines the amount granted with objective formulas and census data, measuring the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing and other factors within a city. The funding for this grant has steadily declined in the last 20 years, adjusting for inflation. South Jordan is projected to receive a grant of $220,000, with a cap of 15% going to public services, 20% cap for admin and planning, and no cap on infrastructure spending.

While the size of the grant sounds large to an individual, it is insignificant on the scale of a city. To give an idea of how small this grant is, the city’s operating general fund budget for last fiscal year was around $52 million. This grant is 0.4% of that general fund. With that in mind, the committee who scored applications elected to use $146,500 of the grant to repair and build ADA ramps in eligible blocks.

Katie Olson, the CDBG coordinator for South Jordan, indicated construction costs are around triple what they were pre-pandemic. Brad Klavano, the director of engineering services, estimated each ramp will cost $6,200, so the grant will pay for around 23 ramps.

The city will give a portion of $29,000 to the following public service organizations: The South Valley Sanctuary, The Road Home, The Inn Between, The Legal Aid Society and Community Health Centers. Ten applications were received, totaling almost $400,000 in requested funds, but only 7% of petitioned aid could be granted.

A redevelopment agency fund has picked up slack where the CDBG lacks, and has been used throughout the pandemic to provide a down payment assistance program and a housing repair and rehab program. South Jordan does not have a large population of low- and moderate-income persons, and HUD allocates grant funds accordingly. This fact might seem positive at first glance, but could also reflect a lack of affordable housing in the city.

In the same city council meeting, the Daybreak community was discussed. The community, though overwhelmingly positive for the city, will have a tax burden of $500 million over the next 30 years. Of that, 7.5% will be dedicated to affordable housing. The Daybreak vision is one of “Live, Play, Work.” As rising home prices prohibit more and more families from moving to South Jordan, it will be difficult to realize this vision if low and middle income households are not able to afford to both live and work in the city.

The next stage of the grant process usually starts on July 1, but delays are likely. This will involve finalizing agreements, after which the government will begin to accept invoices and reports. Currently, many resources are funded, and can be found on the South Jordan city website.