The Merced City Council will look Monday at approving this year’s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plan overseen by the city’s Housing Department, which has drawn scrutiny in the last year from at least one councilman.
The 2015-16 HUD Annual Action Plan and a proposal to paint a mural in McNamara Park are both on the agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting Monday at City Hall, 678 W. 18th St.
The housing plan calls for about $1.58 million in rehabilitation efforts and funding for nonprofits, according to city records. The city must submit the plan to HUD by May 15.
The money must be used to meet a HUD-approved national objective. That means the activities must directly benefit low- and moderate-income people; aid in prevention and elimination of slums or blight; or meet an urgent need, such as flood, hurricane or tornado cleanup and repair.
Up to 15 percent of the dollars can be awarded to public services.
The HUD plan this year includes a move to loan about $1 million to the Central Valley Coalition for Affordable Housing, which will build four structures with a total of 28 units for homeless veterans near 13th and K streets.
Each unit will cost the city about $35,714.
When that housing plan was approved last month by a 6-1 vote, Councilman Mike Murphy was the only dissenter. He said the project needed to stretch the dollars further.
“The bottom line is we can do more for our veterans,” he said in April.
A number of real estate agents also spoke out against the plan, saying there are standing buildings in Merced that the money could buy at a much cheaper rate.
If a Merced County Continuum of Care count from this year is accurate, there is a need for that kind of housing. The tally found 88 homeless veterans in Merced County. Seventy-six of them were in the city of Merced.
The council will also look at a plan to add a mural to McNamara Park, an almost 9-acre south Merced site.
Richard Gomez, a UC Merced art professor, and students from the university would head the project.
The mural would be about 7 feet by 23 feet and cover three sides of the new restroom building in McNamara Park near the artificial turf fields. The students have a $600 budget and would use 8 gallons of paint and 35 gallons of spray paint.
A closed-session meeting is planned at 6:30 p.m.
City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet; a link to the meeting and past videos is at www.cityofmerced.org. The meeting is also shown live on Comcast’s Government Channel 96.
Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or tmiller@mercedsunstarcom.