Notice of Intent to Request Release of Funds

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Notice of Intent to Request Release of Funds
Small Cities Development Program
State of Minnesota
July 3, 2013

City of Benson, Minnesota
1410 Kansas Avenue
Benson, MN 56215

Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission
323 West Schlieman Avenue
Benson, MN 56208-1299
Phone 320-289-1981

TO ALL INTERESTED AGENCIES, GROUPS AND PERSONS:
On or about July 11, 2013 the City of Benson will request the Business and Community Development Division, Small Cities Development Program, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), to release federal funds under Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended (P.L. 98-181) for the following project:

Project Name:    City of Benson – Residential Owner-Occupied and Rental Rehab
Purpose or Nature of Project:
1. The City of Benson will use Small Cities Development Program grant funds to rehabilitate twenty-four (24) owner-occupied houses and five (5) rental properties.  All proposed owner-occupied and commercial properties are in city limits of Benson.
2. Grant funds will be used in combination with leveraged funds from the City of Benson,
Swift County Greater Rural Opportunities Working, and Swift County HRA, as well as lending sources from the First Security Bank and Co-op Credit Union.  Owner-occupied and rental house improvements may include gutters, windows, doors, roofing, siding, insulation, electrical, heating, plumbing, foundations, lead testing and building code violations.  

Location of Project:  City of Benson municipal limits.
SCDP Grant Funds Awarded: $597,940
Estimated Total Project Cost: $799,690
The activities proposed are categorically excluded under HUD regulations at 24 CFR Part 58 from National Environmental Policy Act Requirements because: (a) The facilities and improvements are in place and will not be changed in size or capacity by more than 20 percent; and (b) the activity does not involve a change in land use, such as from a non-residential to residential, commercial to industrial, or from one industrial use to another.  An Environmental Review Record (ERR) respecting this project has been made by the City of Benson that documents the environmental review of the project.  This ERR is on file at the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission and is available for public examination and copying, upon request, weekdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
In accordance with 24 CFR Part 58.15, a tiered review process has been structured for the rehabilitation, whereby some environmental laws and authorities have been reviewed for the target area and other applicable laws and authorities will be complied with, when participating properties have been identified and projects are ripe for review.  Specifically, the target area has been studied and compliance with the following laws and authorities has been established:  wetland protection, sole source aquifers, endangered species, wild and scenic rivers, coastal zone management, air quality, farmlands protection, airport runway clear zone requirements and environmental justice.   
In addition, pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, comments on the identification and treatment of historic properties in the project area are welcome.  
Compliance with the following laws and authorities will take place once properties within the target area have been identified, but prior to the commitment of funds:  historic properties, floodplain management/Flood Disaster Protection Act requirements (if required) and HUD environmental standards for hazards.  Compliance documentation on the aforementioned laws and authorities will be in each individual property file, and copies will be available, once established, at the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission.

Public Comments on Request to Release Funds
Any individual, group or agency may submit written comments on the ERR to Katie Kellner at the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission.  

Katie Kellner
Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission
323 West Schlieman Avenue
Appleton, MN 56208

All comments received by July 10, 2013 will be considered by the City of Benson prior to submission of a Request for Release of Funds.
The City of Benson will undertake the project described above with Block Grant funds from DEED, under Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.  The City of Benson is certifying to DEED that the of City of Benson and Paul Kittelson, in his official capacity as Mayor,  consent to accept the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts if an action is brought to enforce responsibilities in relation to environmental reviews, decision making and action; and that these responsibilities have been satisfied.  The legal effect of the certification is that with approval, the City of Benson may use the Block Grant funds, and DEED and HUD will have satisfied their responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.  

Objections to Release of Funds
BCD will accept objections to its approval of the release of funds and acceptance of the certification for a period of fifteen days following the anticipated submission date or its actual receipt of the request (whichever is later) only for one of the following reasons:  (a) that the certification was not in fact executed by the Chief Executive Officer or other officer of the grantee approved by BCD; (b) that the grantee’s ERR for the project indicates omission of a required decision, finding or step applicable to the project in the environmental review process; (c) the grant recipient has incurred costs not authorized at 24 CFR Part 58.22 before approval of a release of funds by BCD; or (d) another Federal agency acting pursuant to 24 CFR Part 1504 has submitted a written finding that the project is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of environmental quality.  
Objections must be prepared and submitted in accordance with the required procedures (24 CFR Part 58), and may be addressed to Director, Small Cities Development Program, MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development, Business and Community Development Division, 1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN  55101-1351.  Potential objectors should contact DEED at 651-296-7057 to verify the actual last day of the objection period.

Paul Kittelson, Mayor
Environmental Certifying Officer for the City of Benson
c/o Benson City Hall
1410 Kansas Avenue
Benson, MN 56215
7-3-1c

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