WF Community Input on Funding

The Wichita Falls Neighborhood Resources Division is hosting multiple meetings to get citizens' opinions on how the city should utilize funding from the Department of Housing and Development. 

One public meeting was held on Monday night and around 25 people attended.

Each year, the HUD gives cities money to fund public and private projects within their local community.  In order to get the funding, the city is required to put on a public meeting to look at what the community or neighborhood needs.  It has to be done every five years.

During Monday night's meeting, the consultant went over the process they have to follow.  He also explained the different areas the money could be spent on.  This includes, community facilities, special needs services, housing, community services, infrastructure, Neighborhood services, and economic development.

This year there is approximately $1.3-million, which is a decrease from the last five years.  This makes how the money is spent even more vital.

"This is where it starts," Michael Smith, Wichita Falls City Council Member said, "Prioritization based on citizen input and as you saw tonight, there are many different opinions and some emotions behind some of those opinions."

Since they get a new budget to with with every year, they have to get the public input on how the money should be spent every year.

"I would say they are probably fairly united that housing assistance, who are either trying to maintain housing, or acquire housing for the first time is important," James Gilleylen, the consultant said.

Citizens also agreed that senior programs, such as meals on wheels and housing options are also important.  Another point that was made was jobs.  A few residents said there needs to be better job options for the community, but Gilleylen explained the funds aren't big enough to accomplish that.

If you were unable to make Monday night's meeting, there will be another meeting on Tuesday, April 7th at 10:00a.m.  However, if you can't make it, they still want your opinion.  They want as many people as possible to fill out their survey.  You can access it on the city's website.

Once the meetings have taken place, a consolidated plan is created.  It will help guide, city leaders on what public and private projects should be funded through the community development block grant.

, Newschannel 6