Richardson elected to Anza Community Hall Board of Directors, announces award of new grant

From left to right, board members Kyran Roberts, Gayle Shaffer, Barbara Keller, Noel Donahue and Dan Robinson at the Anza Community Hall board meeting Thursday, Sept. 28. Diane Sieker photo

Anza Community Hall members elected Keith Richardson to the board of directors during an open meeting, Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Community Hall in Anza.

Present were board members Les Finn, Dan Robinson, Taz Hoffstat, Gayle Shaffer, Barbara Keller, Noel Donahue and Kyran Roberts. About 45 people were in attendance.

The meeting was called to order and minutes and treasurer reports read and approved.

One of the Hall’s major sources of income, the weekly swap meet, was reported to be a continuing success. Barbara Keller reported that “the last couple swap meets had 30-something vendors.”

An election was held to fill the vacant board of directors’ seat. The newest director is Keith Richardson.

“I’m humbly grateful for having the opportunity to serve the Community of Anza. I have lived here since 1984 when Anza was just a two-lane highway and watched this community grow into what it is today. I have never seen a more productive Community Hall Board as there is now and I wanted to be a part of it.  I hope and pray that I can continue the positive effect this Board has had on the community and use my God-given talents to contribute to its success.”

Board President Noel Donahue announce the fifth grant submitted by the board had been approved for additional improvements to the Hall.

The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to answering questions from members. Several had inquiries regarding the grants, grant processes, money disbursement and renovations of the Hall in recent months.

Unlike other smaller grants the Hall had received – which resulted in cash that the board could spend – the Community Development Block Grant monies utilize federal funds and came with numerous strings attached. The items the funds will be spent on are listed in the grant application. Then each item must go out to public bid, under federal procurement guidelines. For example, when the Hall wanted to hire contractors to do the kitchen repairs, install the flooring and obtain an architect to produce plans for an ADA-compliant bathroom, the grantor required them to spend $4,500 advertising these opportunities in newspapers from an approved list. Unfortunately, no local Anza newspaper was on this list.

In the grant application, $22,000 was budgeted for labor to repair the sub-floor and install the new flooring. Bill Donahue explained that without paying prevailing wage and following federal government procedures that this same work could have been purchased for half the amount they budgeted for. But when the bids came back, the lowest bidder was 3 times the budgeted amount. According to the terms of the grant, unless there is an objection to the bidder, the lowest qualified bidder gets the job.

The next problem was that under the conditions of the grant the Hall needed to pay for the approved expenses first and then submit requests for reimbursement. The Community Hall did not have thousands of dollars in the bank with which to pay for these items so the board opened a restricted bank account solely to handle these funds. They obtained a line of credit from the bank and the funds from the line of credit were deposited into this restricted bank account, so then approved expenses were paid. Once reimbursements were made from the grantor and those funds deposited back into this restricted account and the line of credit was paid down. When the grants are completed the line of credit will be closed.

Les Fin interjected that the board, “never touched the money.”

Another condition of the grant requires an audit of all the grant fund expenditures. The board has been informed that this audit will cost between $6,000 and $10,000. Because the board has been awarded five grants including two CDBG awards, they have requested and been approved to conduct a single audit of all the grant monies, thus saving thousands of dollars.

Bill went on to say that originally, the board wanted to install a handicap-accessible bathroom. But when the federal representatives for the grant money showed up at the Community Hall, the board was informed that they would not be allowed to build this ADA compliant bathroom until they first brought the handicap parking and ramps up to current codes. This was not an expense that was budgeted, so the board applied for additional CDBG funds to cover this.

The grant request for the ADA upgrades was for $219,000. But the CBDG award was only $70,000 so the board needed to find a way to stretch this money. They have found an architect willing to donate his services and a contractor willing to pull the permits. By using volunteer labor to build the ADA bathroom, modify the access ramps in the front of the building and to level the handicap parking stalls they are hoping to complete the ADA upgrades with this smaller amount of money.

Finn explained that many volunteer hours had been invested in doing work such as removing the old flooring. Most of the volunteers were 60 years of age or older.

“Having younger board member Kyran Roberts and his partner Jade Nichols on the crew helped shift the average age of the workers down below 60,” Finn joked.

The meeting lasted about an hour, in which a lot of information was shared with a record number of people in attendance.

“This is a ‘community’ hall, the community needs to be involved in it. I believe in the word ‘community,” said Finn.

A motion was made to adjourn the meeting, seconded and the motion carried.

The next meeting of the Community Hall Board of Directors is planned for Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7:00 p. m.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Anza Community Building, Inc., can call (951) 428-0901 or visit www.facebook.com/groups/337754646415866/. Memberships are $20 per person or family (with one vote per family or person) and $35 per business (one vote). Cash and checks are accepted.

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