Friday, September 18, 2009

Stimulus Funds

Community Member Question:

Given that the City is finding it difficult to find eligible foreclosed properties for sale with its stimulus funding, can the funds received by the City be used to help maintain parkways in the City, thus helping to solve blight conditions for all property owners?

City Manager Response:

Thank you for the question. The City of Fontana has received about $6 million from the federal government for the purpose of buying, fixing up, and reselling bank owned properties within our community. The conditions for the expenditure of these monies include a stipulation that the money can only be used to purchase and renovate bank-owned properties. Each property must be purchased at a discount of at least 15% below market, and must be resold to qualified, low-income property owners.

In buying properties that meet these conditions, the difficulty has been that there are many market speculators attempting to buy up these properties. As such, a bank owned property may receive multiple offers to purchase. These multiple offers make it very difficult to find property that is sold at the 15% discount rate required by the federal program. City-wide, Fontana has been successful in purchasing several properties under this federal program, and these properties are now in the renovation stage.

The funds received from this program cannot be used on general street and landscape improvements, unless those improvements are directly related to the property being purchased. The City does have a number of other tools available to assist areas in dealing with maintenance issues, however, the Federal funds from this particular program can not be used in this manner. Should a resident have specific issues regarding maintenance issues, I would encourage them to call either our Public Works Department at (909) 350-Park or Code Enforcement at (909) 350-7623.