The Big Three of the City Council Week | New

The LEAP presentation collects mixed opinions of city council

Executive Director Chris Meyer proposed to city council that Harrisonburg apply for a grant that would give the city about $ 150,000 to make 10 to 11 homes energy efficient. Meyer works with a clean energy nonprofit, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The application deadline, Meyer said, would be subject to change, by the end of December, but with the possibility of fluctuations until the end of November and the beginning of January.

Vice-mayor Sal Romero said he wanted to be reassured that energy concentrators staff could have the time needed to assess LEAP and other potential outlets for funding.

“Basically we get around the routine process with our staff,” Romero said. “I have a hesitation because [city staff] did not have time to review the program.

The board voted unanimously to review the issue of weatherization options and energy efficiency adjustments for staff to review LEAP and other grants that are not as timely.

Presentation of fair housing stimulates discussions about responsibility

Kristen McCombe, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) coordinator, called on City Council to elect Harrisonburg to participate in the 2022-2026 Consolidation Plan and Fair Housing Choice Analysis for the CDBG.

McCombe outlined the requirements for accepting funding in the consolidation plan, one of which is “stakeholder consultation” – a time when members of certain organizations and nonprofits could voice their concerns. Public hearings will be held on December 6 to decide where the money should go for housing construction, repairs and education.

McCombe also presented a Fair Housing Analysis, a study that shows the right of citizens of a place “to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination and providing housing opportunities for all”. Race, religion, gender identity, socio-economic status and place of income are some of the different dimensions of discrimination cited by Fair Housing Analysis. McCombe’s analysis concluded on the condition that the city can only receive funds if the fair housing provisions are followed.

Board member Laura Dent mentioned that it’s illegal for someone to discriminate against someone who pays with a housing voucher, but she said developers can get around that with rent increases and rent caps. . Mayor Deanna Reed added that Harrisonburg is a college town and said housing companies have a harder time working with the city because they can get money elsewhere.

Romero said accountability is key to these reports.

“If we’re not proactive about this, things might happen that we won’t know,” Romero said.

municipal Council names the new shared usage path

The shared-use trail along Garbers Church Road was officially named the “Friendly City Trail” after two rounds of the Harrisonburg citizens’ ballot and a unanimous city council vote; Board member Chris Jones said he specifically agreed with the name due to his membership in the Harrisonburg brand. Tom Hartman, Director of Public Works, presented the name change to council.

Romero said he hoped schools and minority communities would have more of a say in future plans for the city.

“If we want our city to reflect its population, the place names must also align with that population,” Romero said.

The board as a whole lobbied for new projects to have more diverse naming processes in the future.

Contact JJ Hensley at For more news coverage from JMU and Harrisonburg, follow the News Desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.

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