Sidebar Citizen's Advisory Committee- Citizen's Participation Plan

  1. PREAMBLE The City of Middletown is a participating entitlement jurisdiction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in receiving Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). As such, citizens, public agencies and other interested parties are guaranteed a role in the development and review of plans and performance reports and, further, shall have access to certain records and technical assistance. The Citizen Participation Plan sets forth those procedures.
  2. ENCOURAGEMENT OF CITIZEN PARTICIPATION The Plan will encourage:
    1. citizens, public agencies and other interested parties to participate in the development and review of the Consolidated Plan and its amendments, Annual Plan, Environmental Review Record and Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report.
    2. participation by low and moderate income persons living in slum and blighted areas and in areas where CDBG funds are proposed to be used and residents of predominantly low and moderate income neighborhoods.
    3. participation of all citizens of the City, including minorities and non-English speaking persons, as well as persons with disabilities.
    4. in conjunction with the Middletown Housing Authority (Authority), participation of residents in public and assisted housing developments in the process of developing and implementing the consolidated plan, along with other low income residents of targeted revitalization areas in which the developments are located. The City will provide information to the Authority about its Consolidated Plan activities related to its developments so that the Authority can make this information available at the annual public hearing required under the Comprehensive Gant Program.
    5. the Mayor and Common Council to designate target areas within the City which have 50% or more low to moderate income individuals.
  3. CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE The objective and purpose of the Citizen Advisory Committee of the City of Middletown, Connecticut shall primarily be to administer the citizen participation requirements of the Housing and Community Development of 1974, as amended, and Public Act No. 75-443, as amended. Further, it shall: prepare and recommend grant applications for CDBG funding to the Mayor and Common Council; monitor the progress of all funded programs; and; make recommendations to the Mayor and Common Council regarding the implementation of CDBG funded programs.
    1. Structure of Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC)
      1. A community-wide CAC shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Common Council. The membership shall consist of fifteen (15) citizens of the City of Middletown.
      2. Membership to the CAC should represent the following interest groups in order to advise in affairs of the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) as authorized by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended:
        • Common Council (one from each political party) (2)
        • At-Large (1)
        • Banking/Insurance (1)
        • Real Estate (1)
        • SocialService/Human Relations (1)
        • Middletown Housing Authority (1)
        • Greater Middletown Preservation Trust (1)
        • Labor (1)
        • Low/Moderate Income (1)
        • Planning and Zoning Commission (1)
        • Minority (1)
        • Elderly (1)
        • Handicapped (1)
        • Youth (1)
      3. Terms - the term of the Common Council members shall run concurrently with the term of their office. The term of the remaining thirteen (13) members shall be as follows: four (4) shall serve for one (1) year; three (3) shall serve for two years; three (3) shall serve for three (3) years; and, three (3) shall serve for four (4) years. Thereafter, members shall be appointed annually to serve for four (4) years. Each member shall serve until his successor is appointed and has qualified and any vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term.
      4. In the event that any CAC member misses three (3) consecutive meetings and upon the recommendation of the Citizen Advisory Committee Chairman, the Mayor may remove that member and fill the vacancy. Generally, if any such member represents a specific interest group, he/she shall be replaced by a person representing the same group. Voluntary resignations shall be handled in a similar manner.
    2. Organization of the CAC
      1. The Committee shall select a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and a Secretary. An annual organizational meeting for the purpose of electing officers shall be conducted each January.
      2. Regular meetings of the CAC shall be held on the third (3rd) Wednesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at a place specified with the City and Town Clerk.
      3. The office of the CAC shall be with the Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development.
    3. Role of the CAC
      1. The CAC shall be responsible for encouraging of citizen participation, as required by the Plan, all citizens, public agencies and other interested parties including minorities, low/moderate income persons and non-English speaking persons, as well as persons with disabilities at its meetings.
      2. The CAC shall be responsible for citizen participation prior to making recommendations to the Mayor and Common Council on the following items, including but not limited to:
        1. The Five-year Consolidated Plan, including the identification of community development and housing needs and the setting of priorities.
        2. Annual Action Plan of projects that are consistent with the Consolidated Plan.
        3. The annual CDBG Program and CDBG budget.
        4. Subsequent minor amendments and other significant changes/amendments to previously approved programs in the Consolidated Plan.
      3. The CAC shall be responsible for recommending to the Mayor and Common Council, policy and methods of implementing CDBG projects.
      4. The CAC shall participate in the preparation of the Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) by soliciting views concerning the effectiveness of various CDBG projects.
      5. All meetings of the CAC shall be conducted in an open manner, with freedom of access to all interested persons. Dates, times and locations of all meetings shall be posted with the City and Town Clerk in a manner consistent with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, as amended.
  4. DEVELOPMENT OF THE FIVE YEAR CONSOLIDATED PLAN
      Prior to adoption of a Five Year Consolidated Plan, the City will make available to interested citizens, agencies, groups and other interested parties the following:
      1. information that includes the amount of grant funds and program income it expects to receive.
      2. the range of activities that may be undertaken.
      3. the estimated amount that will benefit persons of low and moderate income.
      4. set forth plans to minimize displacement of persons and to assist any person displaced, specifying the types and levels of assistance that will be made to persons displaced and by whom the assistance will come from.
      5. publication of the proposed Consolidated Plan in a manner that affords all citizens a reasonable opportunity to examine its contents and submit comments.
      6. publish the proposed Consolidated Plan or its Summary in the Hartford Courant and Middletown Press. The Summary will describe the contents and purpose of the proposed Consolidated Plan and include a list of locations where copies of the entire proposed Consolidated Plan may be examined.
      7. the City will provide free copies of the proposed Consolidated Plan to citizens and groups that request it.
      8. make copies of the proposed Consolidated Plan and Summary available at the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development, Russell Library, Town Clerks Office, Middletown Housing Authority, Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, Midstate Regional Agency, Community Action for Greater Middlesex County and Community Health Center.
      9. provide a thirty (30) period for review and to receive comments from interested citizens, agencies and/or groups on the proposed Consolidated Plan.
      10. The City shall consider any comments or views of interested citizens, agencies and/or groups received in writing and/or orally at the public hearing, in preparation of the final Consolidated Plan. A summary of comments and views received and a summary of comments and views not accepted and the reasons therefore, shall be attached to the final Consolidated Plan.
      The CAC shall conduct public meetings with interested citizens, agencies and/or groups and at least one public hearing prior to the development of the Five Year Consolidated Plan.
      1. Meetings shall be held to encourage the submission of views and recommendations prior to the formulation of the Consolidated Plan.
      2. There shall be a thirty (30) day review period from date of notice in the paper for interested citizens, agencies and/or groups to submit their comments.
      3. Public meetings may be held at selected sites convenient to the residents of the City of Middletown, including the handicapped, with particular emphasis on participation by low and moderate income residents.
      4. Following the conduct of the public hearing on the development of the Consolidated Plan, the City of Middletown must certify that the following assurances have been met:
        1. The City has prepared and followed a written Citizen Participation Plan that meets the requirements of the Federal Regulations.
        2. The City of Middletown has provided adequate notices of public hearing as required by the Citizen Participation Plan.
        3. The City of Middletown has held a hearing on the proposed Consolidated Plan before adoption of a resolution by the Common Council for submission to HUD.
      5. The Consolidated Plan must be submitted to the HUD office for review and approval at least forty-five (45) days before the start of the City's program year which date is July 18. The City's program year is from September 1 to August 31.
  5. ANNUAL ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM
    1. The CAC shall solicit views of all citizens, agencies and other interested parties, particularly low and moderate income persons, so as to enable them to be meaningfully involved in important discussions at various stages of the Entitlement Program and Annual Plan process.
    2. Upon notice from HUD on the amount of Entitlement funds that the City will receive, the CAC will schedule a public hearing to solicit proposals, through the application process, for the funds.
      1. At least fifty (50) days prior to a public hearing, the City shall publish a notice in easily readable type in the legal section of the Middletown Press and Hartford Courant. The notice shall include the following information:
        1. The total amount of CDBG funds available to the City for all eligible activities.
        2. The range of activities that may be undertaken and the kind of activities previously funded in Middletown.
        3. The application process to be followed.
        4. The role of citizens in the program and process.
        5. A summary of other important program requirements.
        6. Date, time and place of hearing.
        7. Place to obtain additional information and assistance.
        8. Consideration of any amendments to the Five Year Consolidated Plan which is dated September 1 - August 31 and any amendments to the Citizen Participation Plan.
      2. Technical assistance in developing proposals will be available to a group representative of low and moderate income persons.
      3. The application shall be due to the City's Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development at least thirty (30) days prior to the public hearing date. The purpose of this time frame is to give the CAC and staff sufficient time to review and justify approval of the applications. In evaluating each application, the following criteria should be used:
        1. eligibility of the activity under CDBG
        2. compliance with the CDBG national objective
        3. consistency with priorities and specific objectives established in the Consolidated Plan
        4. prior experience with CDBG
        5. Prior experience in the community
        6. prior experience in the type of project/activity being proposed
        7. organization administrative and financial capacity to carry out the proposed activity.
      4. Prior to the public hearing, from date of advertisement in the paper to date that proposals are due, news media coverage shall be sought prior to a public hearing in order that additional program information may be publicized. Public service announcements/press releases on the availability of the Entitlement funds shall be placed in the Middletown Press, Hartford Courant and on the local radio station(s).
      5. Whenever there is a significant number of low/moderate income persons and residents who may be affected by the CDBG program and who read a primary language other than English, all notices of public hearings and summaries of the basic information shall be produced in such language or languages and bilingual opportunities shall be offered at the public hearing. Such non-English announcements and notices shall be provided in cooperation with other community organizations.
      6. Notices of public hearings shall be posted in the City of Middletown Town Clerk's Office.
      7. Notice of public hearings shall be made available to organizations such as Community Action for Greater Middlesex County (CAGMC), Middletown Housing Authority, Community Health Center and The Connection, Inc. for distribution into low/moderate income areas.
  6. DEVELOPMENT OF THE ANNUAL PLAN Upon review of the proposals submitted at the public hearing for the Entitlement Program, the CAC may, at its discretion hold special meetings in order to discuss the proposals that were submitted. The CAC will then, at its next regular meeting, make recommendations to the Common Council of funding allocations for the Entitlement Program. Upon approval of the Common Council, staff in the Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development will prepare the Annual Plan for the current year. Amendments to the Consolidated Plan will also be included in the submission of the Annual Plan to HUD.
      The Annual Plan shall include:
    1. Form Application - Standard Form 424
    2. Federal and Other Resources Available
    3. Activities to Be Undertaken
    4. Geographic Distribution
    5. Homeless and Other Special Needs Activities
    6. Other Actions:
      1. Address obstacles in meeting underserved needs, such as foster and maintain affordable housing, remove barriers to affordable housing, evaluate and reduce lead-based paint hazards, reduce the number of poverty level families, develop institutional structure and enhance coordination between public and private housing and social service agencies and foster public housing improvements and resident initiatives.
      2. Reference to the annual revisions of the action plan prepared for the CDBG funds expected to be available during the program year including any program income that will have been recieved before the start of the next program year and that has not yet been programmed.
      3. Amendments to the Consolidated Plan.
    The Annual Plan is due at HUD no less than forty-five (45) days before the start of the City's program year which date is July 18 each year. An advertisement shall be published in the Middletown Press and Hartford Courant no later than the 17th day of June stating that a draft of the Annual Plan is available for review. This will provide a thirty (30) day period for review and to receive comments from interested citizens, groups and/or agencies on the proposed Annual Plan Consolidated amendments. The City shall consider any comments or views of citizens, agencies and/or groups received in writing and/or orally at the public hearing, in preparation of the final Annual Plan. A summary of comments and views received and a summary of comments and views not accepted and the reasons therefore, shall be attached to the final Annual Plan. Prior to submitting the combined notice of Release of Funds and Finding of No Significant Impact to HUD, an Environmental Review Record (ERR) must be completed on each activity that is identified in the Annual Plan. CDBG funds cannot be spent prior to approval from HUD on a Release of Funds. Upon completion of the ERR, an legal notice will be placed in the Middletown Press and Hartford Courant stating that the ERR is available for review and that comments are encouraged from interested citizens, agencies and/or organizations for a period of fifteen (15) days.
  7. CONSOLIDATED ANNUAL PERFORMANCE AND EVALUATION REPORT
    1. The Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER), which is a requirement of HUD pursuant to 24 CFR Part 91, is due for submission at HUD within ninety (90) days of the close of the City's program year which is the 29th day of November each year. The purpose of the CAPER is to provide HUD with necessary information to assess the City's ability to carry out its programs in compliance with applicable regulations and requirements; provide information necessary for HUD to report to Congress; and, provide the City with an opportunity to describe its program achievements its interested citizens, agencies and/or groups.
    2. An advertisement shall be published in the Middletown Press and Hartford Courant no later than the 14th day of November stating that a draft of the CAPER is available for review. This will provide a fifteen (15) day period for review and to receive comments from interested citizens, agencies and groups on proposed CAPER. The City shall consider any comments or views of citizens, agencies and/or groups received in writing and/or orally in preparation of the final CAPER. A summary of comments and views received and a summary of comments and views not accepted and the reasons therefore, shall also be attached to the final CAPER.
  8. PROGRAM AMENDMENTS
    Prior to making any additions, deletions, or changes to the Community Development Block Grant Program Consolidated Plan, the following determination will be made on the amendment:
    1. If the proposed change is a minor amendment defined as an amendment to the program that costs less than 10% of the total current year grant and only affects an activity previously described in the Consolidated Plan and Annual Plans. OR
    2. If the proposed change is a substantial amendment defined as an amendment to the program that costs 10% or greater of the total current program year grant.
    Once a determination has been made, based on the above criteria, one of the two following procedures will be undertaken:
    1. Minor Amendment The staff of the Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development will seek an approval from the CAC; and, subsequent to the CAC's decision, a final approval shall be sought from the Common Council for any minor amendment to the City's Entitlement Program and will be noted in the Annual Plan.
    2. Substantial Amendment The staff of the Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development will, pursuant to the Community Development Block Grant Regulations (24 CFR 91.105 and 24 CFR Part 570), undertake the following amendment process for any proposed substantial amendment to the Consolidated Plan:
      1. Provide a reasonable notice of public hearing on the proposed amendment to the Consolidated Plan by publishing a legal notice in the Middletown Press and Hartford Courant.
      2. The notice shall provide a description of the amendment.
      3. Be published at least ten (10) days prior to the public hearing.
      4. Allow citizens, agencies and/or groups the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment in writing and/or verbally at a public hearing which will be held by the CAC. The Public Hearing process will be carried out in the same manner as described in the Annual Entitlement Program section.
      5. Consider interested citizens, agencies and/or groups' comments when finalizing the proposed amendment.
      6. Seek approval from the Citizen Advisory Committee on the proposed activity(ies) which comprise the proposed amendment; and, seek subsequent approval from the Common Council.
      7. Forward a descriptive amendment to the Consolidated Plan on the adopted amendment with a signed transmittal letter signed by the Mayor to the HUD.
    3. Amendments that do not require Common Council approval and may be approved only by the CAC are minor amendments such as:
      1. minor additions or changes of the scope of services in a contract which is not a substantial amount of allocated funds and which would require a contract amendment and not a line item change;
      2. extensions to the time of performance of approved activities;
      3. change of language in an executed contract for an approved activity.
  9. RESPONDING TO CITIZEN COMMENTS, VIEWS AND OBJECTIONS
    1. Program Recommendations, Requests and Objections
      1. Recommendations, requests and/or objections maybe submitted to the CAC for consideration from interested citizens, agencies and/or organizations at any time during the program year.
      2. Written responses shall be made to these written recommendations, requests and/or objections within fifteen (15) working days of after a determination by the CAC at its special meeting or regular meeting date.
      3. Additionally, written comments, requests, and/or inquiries which require a response to general information and/or clarification of the CDBG program can be handled by staff in the Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development. The response time shall be within fifteen (15) working days of the receipt of the written comment, request and/or inquiry.
      4. All written responses to written recommendations, requests and/or objections shall state reasons for action taken or, in the case of staff response, shall make specific reference to pertinent sections of CDBG legislation.
      5. Whenever practical, responses should be made prior to the end of the comment period as stated in the legal notice on the development of the Consolidated Plan, Annual Plan, Environmental Review Record and/or Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report for which the written recommendation, request and/or objection was offered.
      6. Written recommendations, requests and/or objections not offered at officially called meetings of the CAC shall be addressed to the Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation and Development, Municipal Building, P.O. Box 1300, 245 deKoven Drive, Middletown, CT 06457 for placement on the agenda for the next appropriate meeting.
    2. Objections may also be made, inwriting, to HUD. HUD will consider objections only on the following grounds:
      1. The applicant's description of needs and objectives is plainly inconsistent with available facts and data; or
      2. The activities to be undertaken are plainly inappropriate to meeting the needs and objectives identified by the applicant; or
      3. The applicant does not comply with the requirements of HUD or other applicable laws; or
      4. The application proposes activities which are ineligible.
      Objectives shall include identification and documentation of requirements not met and where data is objected to, new data shall be offered. Objections to a particular application should be submitted within thirty (30) days of the publication of the combined Notice of Release of Funds and Finding of No Significant Impact.
    3. Citizen Comment to Federal and State Agencies
      1. HUD will consider citizen objections to the CDBG Program at any time.
      2. Citizens may comment to HUD at any time concerning Middletown's failure to comply with any of the Citizen Participation Requirements of this Citizen Participation Plan.
    4. Should the Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development, for whatever reason, not be handicapped accessible, a copy of the Citizen Participation Plan, the proposed and approved Consolidated Plan and Annual Plans and the most recent Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report shall be on file with the City and Town Clerk's Office.
    5. Technical Assistance Shall be Offered to Facilitate Citizen Participation
      1. Assistance shall be provided to citizen organizations, groups of low/moderate income persons, groups of residents in existing neighborhood target areas and nonprofit agencies who provide a service to low and moderate income individuals.
      2. Assistance may be provided to citizens in organizing and operating neighborhood and project area organizations to carry out CDBG activities.
      3. Requests for assistance shall be made, in writing, to the CAC, or Community Development Division of the Department of Planning, Conservation, and Development, specifying the type of assistance required and the reasons for assistance.
      4. The extent of assistance offered shall be determined by the Mayor and Common Council. Such determination may be made at the recommendation of the CAC.
      5. The Mayor and Common Council shall consider all the resources of the City and shall generally not overextend staff or budgets when offering assistance.
      6. The specialist(s) selected to provide technical assistance shall be jointly selected by the City and the organizations and groups to be assisted.
      7. Technical assistance may be either provided directly by the City or through arrangements with public, private or non-profit entities.
  10. AVAILABILITY OF RECORDS
    1. The City shall maintain records pertaining to the CDBG Program in the Municipal Building for a period of five years.
      1. Documents on file with the Municipal Development Office shall include:
        1. All mailings and promotional information.
        2. Records of hearings and meetings of the CAC and Common Council.
        3. All key documents, including prior Final Statements, letters of approval, grant agreements, the citizen participation file, performance reports, evaluation reports, Letters of Credit, other reports as required and the proposed and approved Final Statements for the current year.
        4. CDBG regulations and issuances governing the program.
        5. Other important program requirements such as contracting procedures, environmental policies, fair housing and other equal opportunity requirements and relocation provisions.
      2. Documents on file with the Department of Finance shall include:
        1. Copies of all construction contracts.
        2. All financial data indicating expenditures of CDBG funds.
      3. All records shall be available for inspection between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. during normal working days.
      4. Requests for copies of any available records shall be made, in writing, pursuant to established City policy. The current fee schedule for copying records shall be applicable.
    2. EFFECTIVITY
      1. The Citizen Participation Plan shall become effective upon approval by the Common Council.
      2. The Citizen Participation Plan may be amended from time to time by the Common Council. Citizens may offer suggestions to the Plan by writing to the Municipal Development Office. All such suggestions shall be considered by the Citizens Advisory Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting. Citizens shall have the opportunity to comment on any and all suggested amendments either before the Citizens Advisory Committee or before the Common Council at such time as amendments are being considered by either body.
      3. The Citizen Participation Plan was formally adopted by the Common Council through Resolution #72 on May 11, 1978. The Plan became effective on May 18, 1978.
      4. Amendments to the Plan are as follows:
      DATE RESOLUTION NO. EFFECTIVE DATE
      3/2/81 No. 31 3/9/81
      7/6/82 No. 87 7/6/82
      7/5/88 No. 142 7/5/88 
      7/3/95 No. 156 7/3/95
      6/3/96 No. 101 6/3/96
      7/6/99 No. 232-99 7/6/99
    (June 1999)
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