The Colusa City Council last week authorized a new income survey that could help the city receive grant funding if it proves the community is economically disadvantaged or severely disadvantaged.
The city’s last income survey, which was performed in 2014, expired in 2019, officials said at the council’s April 6 regular meeting.
“Income studies are only valid for five years,” said City Manager Jesse Cain.
Cain said for the city to be eligible for funding (and low match funding), particularly infrastructure grants such as sewer, water, and streets, the state and the federal government require that an updated income survey is in place.
Most grant funding from the federal government is through the Community Development Block Grant and USDA programs, which largely provide funding for projects within communities that have a large population of low-to-moderate-income earners.
“A lot of granting agencies require that we have an active income study in place,” Cain said.
“While not having one may not mean that we wouldn’t get grants, but having one could move us to the top of the chain.”
Cain said the income study performed for the city by the Rural Community Assistance Corp in 2014 was strictly for the water and sewer department and was used only for related projects like upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant.
Because the city plans to use a new income study to apply for a variety of grants, the cost of the income survey – estimated at about $20,000 – will be divided equally between the general fund, the sewer fund, the water fund, and the cannabis fund.
“If the city conducts a new income survey and we remain a severely disadvantaged community, it’s going to open up the floodgates for a bunch of different grants. If it comes back that we are just a disadvantaged community, it’s still going to open us up for grants. Without this document, we could lose a ton of money on future funding.”