Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

OCTOBER 5, 2004 NEIGHBORHOOD BEAUTIFICATION GRANT AWARDS (CYCLE 15) OCTOBER 5, 2004 NEIGHBORHOOD BEAUTIFICATION GRANT AWARDS (CYCLE 15)

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

DATE: OCTOBER 5, 2004

SUBJECT: NEIGHBORHOOD BEAUTIFICATION GRANT AWARDS (CYCLE 15)

Staff Coordinator: Pam Mitchell, Administrative Staff Assistant

RECOMMENDATION

  1. Approve fifty-one grant applications for the Neighborhood Beautification Program totaling $193,170.
  2. Deny two grant applications for reasons that the requested improvements do not follow grant guidelines.

BACKGROUND

Since 1989 the City has annually awarded Neighborhood Beautification Grants. The program awards funds directly to members of Homeowners’ Associations, other neighborhood groups, schools and libraries to construct beautification projects. The program is funded from revenues from the City’s Curbside Recycling Program. Since 1989, grants totaling nearly $923,138 have been awarded.

The base grant amount is $3,000, and the program includes a matching component of up to $1,500. Under the program the maximum grant amount is $ 4,500. In May, the Public Works Department sent notices to the Homeowners Associations, Community Associations, and all libraries and schools within the City. A total of 53 applications have been received.

This year for the first time grant recipients may request up to 2/3 of the grant amount upon award. This will enable grantees to purchase supplies and materials. This revision to the program grew out of a request made by the Council of Homeowners’.

DISCUSSION

Upon review of the fifty-three applications staff recommends that fifty-one applications be approved. The grants are summarized in Exhibit "A".

The most common grant request is for landscape improvements. However, grants are also requested for other improvements such as stamped asphalt, landscape lighting, entry signs, new irrigation systems, a fountain, fencing and pedestrian path improvements. Many of the projects will require a Public Works and /or a Planning Department permit. Staff from both departments took extra care to spell out for applicants the requirements for the permit needed.

Staff recommends that two applications be denied, and that a third be only partially approved:

  • Two requests from the owner of two apartment buildings are recommended for denial. The activities proposed include painting, re-tiling, pressure washing, and stucco repair. Staff believes that these activities are not eligible since they fall into the category of regular maintenance and that they are not visible to the general public.
  • Staff also recommends that a grant application from the Miraleste Hills HOA be only partially approved. This HOA requested funding for both landscaping and surveillance cameras. Staff recommends approval of funding for the landscaping and but not the cameras.

Some characteristics of the applications recommended for approval:

Type of organization

  • HOA’s: 42
  • Community Groups: 6
  • Schools: 3

Subject of grant

  • Landscape Improvements along the street
  • Tree Planting
  • Street Stamped Asphalt
  • Landscape Lighting
  • Entry signs
  • New irrigation systems
  • Fountain
  • Fencing
  • Pedestrian path improvements

Have they applied before?

  • 3 out of 51 are first time applicants
  • 17 out of 51 have received awards, 3 or fewer times
  • 31 out of 51 have received 4 or more grants

How much did they ask for?

  • 26 requested $3,000 plus the $1,500 matching
  • 8 requested $3,000 plus matching funds less than $1,500
  • 11 requested $3,000 only with no matching funds
  • 6 requested less than $3,000

One of the two documents required for submittal with all applications is minutes of a Homeowner’s Association meeting at which time the application is approved. Because many of our HOA’s do not hold regular meetings, 42 of the applications do not have minutes, however, those that do not have instead produced proposals with the appropriate signatures from the office holders of their association.

A second requirement is bids from two contractors for the proposed project. It was brought to the City’s attention by many groups that they have difficulty obtaining more than one bid. Out of the 51 applications recommended for approval, twelve include only one bid. In each case, however, staff did review the application and found that the costs are fair and reasonable.

CONCLUSION

Adopting the staff recommendation will award fifty-one Beautification grants. Award letters will be sent to the applicants, and upon request up to 2/3 of the requested funding will be forwarded. Upon receipt of a final invoice for the work a check remitting the balance will be issued.

FISCAL IMPACT

The adopted FY 03-04 budget includes adequate funding for the recommended action awards grants totaling $193,170. The adopted budget includes adequate funding for this program.

Respectfully Submitted,

Dean E. Allison

Director of Public Works

Reviewed by:

Les Evans, City Manager

Attachments:

Exhibit "A" Application Summary (Cycle 15)

Exhibit "B" Grant Award Amount by HOA

Exhibit "C" Typical projects (photos) applied for