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City-of-Penitas-logoPEÑITAS—The Peñitas City Council opened up their special called meeting on Tuesday with a public hearing to discuss the use of funding from the Urban County Program for 2014. The Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are distributed to cities across the county through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

City Manager Oscar Cuellar said he anticipates an allocation of approximately $278,900 based on last year’s funding. The city manager said there is no guarantee on the amount.

The funds can be used from anything to public facilities needs (health, child care, youth and neighborhood facilities), city improvements (flood drain, water, sewer and street) and public service needs (Senior services, special needs services, youth services).

Cuellar added by the end of October, the city would have to submit a needs assessment, and make edits on returned documents between January and February. He expects to receive the money by August or September 2014.

Mayor Marcos Ochoa said in the past, it had been discussed to use the funds to add two streets near Tierra Blanca. He added since there would soon be a new City Hall and Police Department, the funds could also be used to make a baseball or soccer field near the city facilities for public use.

Cuellar added water rights could fall under the CDBG funding; he said there have been talks with the historical committee to create a building master plan for the city through community planning.

There were only two citizens in attendance, and neither commented during the public hearing.

In other news, the city approved a cooperation agreement with the county and state through Operation Stonegarden, which would award the Peñitas Police Department with $28,000.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Operation Stonegarden funds are intended to enhance cooperation between state and federal law enforcement agencies to secure U.S. borders.

The council also approved professional service contracts with Rene Ramirez for consulting services and Monique Norman for legal services involving the city’s new wastewater treatment plant.

Cuellar explained through the use of the services, the city would benefit in creating proper contracts and gaining knowledge when dealing with water rights and neighboring water plants

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