The Carson City Board of Supervisors approved a new program to help property owners of commercial businesses give their buildings a facelift.
The Downtown Facade Improvement Program will provide up to $25,000 in matching funds for projects involving upgrades to a building’s exterior, including painting, new signage and the addition of decorative elements, but not for new landscaping.
Businesses in redevelopment areas 1 and 2, which covers most of Carson Street from William Street south and the surrounding commercial blocks east and west, can apply for the funds.
The buildings must be at least six years old and not in code violation or delinquent on property taxes.
Property owners must get three bids and can go with any licensed contractor that bids, but the city only reimburses based on the lowest bid.
Property owners who sell a building within a year after using the program would have to return the money to the city.
“Our target is to accept applications through April 15, then they go to RACC for approval. RACC will decide whether they’re meeting design standards,” Lee Plemel, community development director, told the board on Thursday. “I’ll have to work on the application itself, but they’ll need to include drawings like they would need to submit for a building permit.”
RACC is the Redevelopment Authority Citizens Committee.
The program is being funded with $150,000 in 2015-2016 and $50,000 in 2016-2017 from the Redevelopment Revolving Fund.
The measure passed 4-1 with Supervisor Jim Shirk voting against it.
Shirk said he liked the concept, but thought businesses in the downtown core should be ineligible because they are already benefiting from the downtown corridor project, which breaks ground next week.
“I think businesses in the downtown corridor project should be not allowed to apply when they’re getting $10 million to improve the sidewalks and narrow the road,” Shirk said.
The board also approved $15,000 and $25,000 in the next two fiscal years for street closures for special events as well as RACC’s recommendations for redevelopment priorities in the next five years.
Another big item on the supervisors’ day-long agenda was approval of a contract not to exceed $30 million to make needed upgrades and repairs at the water resource recovery facility or waste water treatment plant.
Much of the discussion surrounded a list of secondary priorities for the plant that would cost an additional $2 million and whether some of those were more important than $300,000 in landscaping at the facility, which was included in the proposed contract.
“Ensuring the plant is operational is the most important thing we can do,” said Supervisor Lori Bagwell.
“I have to push back that landscaping is frivolous,” said City Manager Nick Marano about the city’s design standards. “We hold commercial property owners to the same standard.”
In the end, the supervisors approved a contract with K.G. Walters Construction/Q&D Construction, that would allow flexibility to revisit the landscaping and perhaps schedule it after some other work was done first.
The board voted 4-1, with Shirk voting against because he said he didn’t approve of the recent rate increase.
“We could have found alternative funding mechanisms and we never looked for it,” said Shirk.
“It’s paramount we have an operational sewer plant so regardless of whether I like how it’s funded I am voting for it,” Bagwell said.
The board also approved funding of several programs through this year’s allotment of Community Development Block Grant money.
Those programs include Ron Wood Family Resource Center’s Reach Up program, which received $30,000; Food for Thought, which was allocated $12,000; and ESL In Home Program of Northern Nevada, which was awarded $11,174.
Parks and Recreation also received $18,062 for disability-compliance work at Clear Creek Bowmen archery park while Nevada Rural Housing was allocated $221,474 for the Jeanell Drive Training Center for the homeless and extremely low-income individuals.
CDBG grants are money from Housing and Urban Development that can be used for projects serving low-income people.