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RULE §30.23Citizen Participation Process

(a) Citizen Participation Plan. A community that intends to apply for TxCDBG funds must develop and follow a detailed citizen participation plan that sets forth the community's policies and procedures for citizen participation and must make the plan public. The plan must be completed and available before an application for TxCDBG funding is submitted to the department. The community must meet the following requirements:

  (1) provide for and encourage citizen participation, particularly by low and moderate income persons who reside in slum or blighted areas and areas in which TxCDBG funds are proposed to be used;

  (2) ensure that citizens will be given reasonable and timely access to local meetings, information, and records relating to the community's proposed and actual use of TxCDBG funds;

  (3) furnish citizens information, including but not limited to:

    (A) the amount of TxCDBG funds expected to be made available for the current program year;

    (B) the range of activities that may be undertaken with the TxCDBG funds;

    (C) the estimated amount of the TxCDBG funds proposed to be used for activities that will meet the national objective of benefit to low and moderate income persons; and

    (D) the proposed activities likely to result in displacement and the community's anti-displacement and relocation plans required under 24 CFR §570.488.

  (4) provide technical assistance to groups representative of persons of low and moderate income that request assistance in developing proposals for the use of TxCDBG funds;

  (5) provide for a minimum of two public hearings, each at a different stage of the program, for the purpose of obtaining citizens' views and responding to proposals and questions. Together the hearings must cover community development and housing needs, development of proposed activities, and a review of program performance:

    (A) Initial public hearing requirement. A public hearing to cover community development and housing needs must be held before submission of an application to the department.

    (B) Final public hearing requirement. A public hearing must be held after completion of a funded project to afford citizens an opportunity to review and comment on the community's performance, including the actual use of TxCDBG funds provided under the contract. The final public hearing must be held prior to submitting a closeout report to the department.

  (6) provide reasonable notice of hearings and hold hearings at times and locations convenient to potential or actual beneficiaries, with reasonable accommodations including material in accessible formats for persons with disabilities. (Additional hearing requirements are provided in §30.24 of this subchapter (relating to Additional Public Hearing Requirements);

  (7) provide citizens with reasonable advance notice of, and opportunity to comment on, proposed activities in an application and, for grants already made, activities which are proposed to be added, deleted or substantially changed from the community's application to the department. Substantially changed means changes made in terms of purpose, scope, location or beneficiaries as defined by criteria established by the department;

  (8) provide written procedures that citizens must follow when submitting complaints and grievances, which include the address, phone number, and times for submitting complaints and grievances, and provide timely written answers to written complaints and grievances within 15 working days where practicable.

(b) Public notice of proposed application.

  (1) A community must provide reasonable notice of the availability of a proposed application in order to afford affected citizens an opportunity to examine the application's contents to determine the degree to which they may be affected, and to submit comments on the proposed application.

  (2) This requirement may be met by publishing a summary of the proposed application in one or more local newspapers of general circulation at least five (5) days prior to submitting the application to the department, and by making copies of the proposed application available at libraries, government offices, and public places. The published notice or summary must describe the contents and purpose of the proposed application, including:

    (A) the TxCDBG fund category for which the application will be submitted;

    (B) the amount of funds requested;

    (C) a description of proposed activities;

    (D) the location(s) of the proposed activities; and

    (E) the locations and hours where copies of the entire proposed application may be examined, beginning at least five (5) days prior to the application due date.

(c) Preparation of final application. In the preparation of the final application, the community shall consider comments and views received related to the proposed application and may, if appropriate, modify the final application prior to submission of the application to the department. The final application shall be made available to the public.

(d) Records retention. The community shall retain all documentation of the hearing notices, a list of attendees at each hearing, minutes of the hearings, and any other records concerning the proposed use of funds for a period of three years after the application deadline date or until the project, if funded, is closed out. Such records must be made available to the public in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act, Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code.

Source Note: The provisions of this §30.23 adopted to be effective January 1, 2015, 39 TexReg 10395; amended to be effective February 1, 2016, 41 TexReg 775

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