In order for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) to operate effectively and to address the needs of the citizens of Columbia County, the entire population must be kept informed. The decision-making process must be open and consistent with state and federal regulations. To accomplish this, the following plan will be followed:
- The Community Development Block Grant Program and the Citizen Participation Plan is administered by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. The County Board of Supervisors will also serve in the capacity of the Citizen Participation Committee.
- To insure responsiveness to the needs of its citizens, Columbia County shall provide for and encourage citizen participation. Particular emphasis shall be given to participation by persons of low- and moderate-income (LMI) who are residents of blighted areas and/or target neighborhoods in which a community development program will be concentrated.
Citizen Participation Committee
- The Citizen Participation Committee (CPC) shall be responsible for coordinating and overseeing all required elements of this Citizen Participation Plan.
The CPC shall consist of County Board of Supervisors members who have been duly elected by the citizens of Columbia County. The membership of the CPC is composed of persons representative of the community’s demographics. This committee must include at least one LMI person and one resident of the designated target area (if applicable). If needed, to satisfy the aforementioned requirements, the County Board of Supervisors will appoint additional citizens to service on the CPC.
Notice of Hearings
- Official notice of hearings will be by public notice in the official newspaper two weeks preceding the hearing. In addition, the public notice shall be posted at the County Administration Building. These notices will include time, place and date of meeting, as well as a brief agenda.
- For projects concentrated in a specific area or neighborhood, in addition to the above notification, notices shall be posted at locations of public gathering within the target area or neighborhood.
- All notifications of the meetings and available assistance must be worded in such a way as to encourage LMI participation.
Required Public Hearings
Public hearings shall be held to obtain citizen views and to enable residents to respond to proposals at all stages of the community development program, including the development of needs, the review of proposed activities and the review of program performance. Hearings shall be held after adequate notice, at times and locations convenient to potential or actual beneficiaries and with accommodations for the handicapped and, if needed, for non-English speaking persons.
- The first hearing will receive citizen views and provide an explanation of community development needs including discussion of housing, public facilities and economic development needs. Community goals and strategies should be reviewed including timetables, possible displacement, eligible activities and citizen views. A summary of proposed activities shall be included in the minutes of the hearing.
- The second public hearing will receive citizen views and provide a review of program performance, including an explanation of how they address community development needs and objectives.
- The first public hearing shall be held during the development of an application for funds. The second public hearing shall be held during the implementation of the program.
- Technical assistance will be provided to any citizen who requests information about program requirements. Assistance with the application process will be provided by County officials or support staff. A County representative will meet with citizens upon request.
- The County will maintain, in the County Administration Building, a record of all citizen participation efforts including minutes of meetings, newspaper clippings, and copies of notices and brochures.
- Citizens will be invited to make proposals regarding the application. If suitable proposals are submitted, in writing, a written response will be provided within 15 days. Every effort will be made to respond to all proposals prior to the final action on that subject.
- Citizens may petition or request in writing assistance or changes to proposals. The County staff will respond to all such requests within 15 days after the CPC has met to discuss the request.
The County will handle citizen complaints about the program in a timely manner. The County will respond in writing to all written letters of complaint within 15 days after receipt of the complaint. The nature and disposition of verbal complaints will be reported in a complaint log. The first contact for complaints should be made to the County Board Chair.
In addition to the above procedure, any citizen wishing to object may complain directly to the following address:
P.O. Box 7970
Madison, WI 53707-7970
Non-English Speaking Residents
The County will regularly survey the community to identify non-English speaking persons and will make all special efforts to assure them equal opportunity in the citizen participation process.