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 City set to receive transit money

Besides a public hearing to get public comments on the city’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, Suffolk City Council has several other items on its agenda for its virtual meeting Wednesday.

Council will take up a pair of ordinances to accept federal and state money for Suffolk Transit. The Federal Transit Administration has authorized more than $2,000 for Suffolk Transit as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, to make safety improvements and enhancements.

The state Department of Rail and Public Transportation has authorized more than $28,000 to help offset lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. The money is equal to one month of lost revenue, according to the project agreement for the grant money. Under terms of the agreement with the state, Suffolk Transit must continue to provide bus service through the end of June.

Also on the agenda is an ordinance to waive transit fares during the state of emergency. The Department of Rail and Public Transportation has asked for the ordinance to minimize contact between bus operators and riders. The city notes that while it is not mandated, “it has been strongly encouraged by transit officials.”

Council will also hold a public hearing and take up a resolution to adopt the five year consolidated plan and the 2020-2021 Annual Action Plan for the city’s Community Development Block Grant and the Western Tidewater Home Consortium Home Partnership Grant Program.

Because the city gets money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city has to prepare and submit an annual action plan that outlines proposed expenses for CDBG money and HOME Investment Partnership money for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The two plans are used as a strategic planning documents on community development and housing needs for low-to-moderate income families and individuals living in the city and other member areas of the consortium, including Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County.

Just over $480,000 in block grant money and about $387,000 in HOME money will be used in support of activities designed primarily to benefit low-to-moderate income people.

The city is also getting a one-time allocation of $282,715 in federal block grant COVID-19 money to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Council will also receive an update related to COVID-19 during its meeting.