Government / Politics

Hollister agencies to apply for COVID-19 grant funding

Staff seeks $30K from CARES Act, while the fire department puts in for two FEMA grants.

At its May 18 meeting, the Hollister City Council gave staff approval to apply for $500,000 in grants, and set an appeal hearing for the Clearist Park project. In addition, the council lacked a quorum to take action on a claim filed against the city by resident Elia Salinas, as two council members recused themselves regarding alleged cyberbullying through social media by Councilman Rolan Resendiz. 

Hollister will apply for $30,000 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to offset operational costs at the airport. The Hollister Fire Department will apply for two Federal Emergency Management Agency grants—the 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental and the 2019 Fire Prevention and Safety AFG Grant.

According to the meeting agenda packet, the supplemental grant would provide funding for personal protective equipment and supplies needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fire department can be awarded up to $100,000, with the city able to match up to $10,000. 

The fire prevention and safety grant allows fire departments to conduct educational outreach to high-risk groups such as seniors. According to the application information included in the agenda, there is $35 million in available funding for around 150 projected recipients. If the fire department received funding from this grant, the city would match 5% up to $10,000.

Hollister Fire Department Chief Bob Martin Del Campo said funds would be used for fire education in forums and gatherings such as Kids in the Park.

“Whenever the Department of Homeland Security provides for funding sources like that, it’s our responsibility to try to take advantage of everything they have,” Del Campo said. 

The city development services department will also apply for a Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) grant of up to $150,000 to help the city with the sixth cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation’s housing element. The housing element has been required by state law since 1969 and is a portion of a city or county’s general plan that outlines appropriate development procedures. 

Clearist Park project

After delaying an appeal hearing on March 16 for the Clearist Industrial Park project because of the COVID-19 outbreak, council members gave staff direction to schedule a June 1 hearing.

According to the appeal form, Clearist Park LLC contests a requirement to submit an updated intersection control evaluation (ICE), which would create an “undue hardship to the applicant in terms of both time and money.” The Hollister Planning Commission approved the requirement on Jan. 23.

The appeal states that the property owner submitted an ICE that “showed that both a signal and a roundabout would result in a grade A level of service, and that a signal would have marginally less delay time than a roundabout.”

Roads and intersections are graded from A to F based on traffic conditions, known as level of service. A is the highest rank, meaning there is little to no delay in traffic flow.

At the Jan. 23 meeting, planning commissioners approved subdividing three parcels into 60 lots totaling 207 acres, of which 46 acres are planned to be developed into the industrial park. Among the 12 approved amendments to the contract were rescinding the requirement to build a roundabout and adding eight-foot class II bike lanes.

Cyberbullying claim

At the May 18 meeting, the City Council lacked the required three votes to take action on a consent agenda item regarding a claim filed by resident Elia Salinas on May 4. Councilmembers Rolan Resendiz and Honor Spencer recused themselves from participating, leaving Mayor Ignacio Velazquez and Councilwoman Carol Lenoir as the only votes on the dais. 

The claim alleges cyberbullying by Resendiz in December, which was a reason cited in the council’s censure of Resendiz on Jan. 21.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.