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064EE19D2478891D872582100058FAEF Hearing Summary


Date Jan 9, 2018      
Location RM 271

Department of Local Affairs Presentation - Committee Discussion Only

09:11:55 AM  

Irv Halter, Executive Director, Deparment of Local Affairs (DOLA), appeared before the committee pursuant to the SMART Government Act and Joint Rule 25.  The committee received a packet that corresponded to Mr. Halter's presenatation (Attachment A).    Mr. Halter began his presentation with DOLA's performance plan highlights, which covered affordable housing, Ft. Lyons, broadband, Main Street Communities, and the investment of Community Development Block Grants - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.

Committee members raised questions about the use of CDBG funds for a holiday light festival.  David Bownman, State CDBG-DR Grant Manager,  explained that holiday light festivals and othe similar events qualify as tourism, and tourism falls under the umbrella of recovery efforts.   Mr. Bowman stated that these funds became available for tourism after Hurricane Katrina in an effort to revitalize New Orleans.

The committee and DOLA represenatitives further discussed Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) spending limitations in comparison to the flexibility of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds.

Mr. Halter next responded to questions about broadband and the related progress in rural counties.  






09:30:49 AM  

Committee members asked about Ft. Lyons and if there was a possibility of replicating this model in other parts of Colroado. Mr. Halter explained that an outcome study of Ft. Lyons will be completed by August.   Further discussion was had about affordable housing, and Mr. Halter explained that it is at a crisis level across the state, particularly in the Denver metropolitan area.

Mr. Halter continued with his presentation and discussed performance plan goals and the fiscal stability management process.  

09:42:23 AM  

The next topic discussed was veterans experiencing homelessness.  Mr. Halter explained that DOLA measures the average days to house a homeless veteran (voucher to lease), and that they are continually working to get this average lower.   He further described the difficulty of doing so with low vacancy rates acrosst he state.  

Alison George, representing the DOLA Division of Housing, discussed DOLA's affordable housing projects, with about 50% of those being in the Denver Metro Area.  

09:46:51 AM  

Mr. Halter next briefed the committee on DOLA's customer service and lean initiatives.  Examples of these efforts include: a paperless electronic system for all grant program processes; an on-boarding booklet to streamline hiring; audit upload application; and, an electronic pay voucher request system.  He explained that these iniatives have been both successful and time-saving and that people within DOLA are eager to participate.  

09:53:03 AM  

Mr. Halter returned to his presentation and discussed demography and the importance of understanding the nature of growth in Colorado  He emphasized that growth is focused on the Front Range and that rural counties are losing people.  Committee members discussed the need for rurual communities to remain viable and the role broadband plays in that.  Mr. Halter further explained that unemployment rates in rural counties may be low but that's because people have left.  

Mr. Halter referenced a chart in the packet regarding households at or below the median income and the number who are spending more than 50% on housing.  

Mr. Halter gave an upate on the housing assistance program for persons transitioning from the criminal or juvenile justice system, and he recommended clarifying language to more easily administer the funds.  

The topic of rural communities was revisited, and Mr. Halter discussed DOLA's emphasis on community building and economic development.  

The committee raised questions about the Marijuana Impact Grants programs that awards grants to eligible local governments who do not allow the sale of retail marijuana within their jurisdiction but are experiencing the impacts of retail marijuana from surrounding communities.  Mr Halter stated that he is not seeing a lot of demand for these grants and suggested that the money be used for law enforcement or other purposes instead.  

Mr. Halter next provided the committee with an update on disaster recovery efforts and the dissemination of federal funds for this purpose.  Recovery efforts include everything from infrastructure to to buy-backs.   Mr. Halter responded to committee questions regarding the length of projects, environmental impacts, permits, and associated paperwork.

Local government limited gaming impact grants were discussed.  

The committee members stressed the need for broadband in rural communities and used Redcliff, Colorado, as a success story.  








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