Irv Halter, Executive Director, Deparment of Local Affairs (DOLA), appeared before the committee pursuant to the SMART Government Act and Joint Rule 25. The committee received a packet that corresponded to Mr. Halter's presenatation (Attachment A). Mr. Halter began his presentation with DOLA's performance plan highlights, which covered affordable housing, Ft. Lyons, broadband, Main Street Communities, and the investment of Community Development Block Grants - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.
Committee members raised questions about the use of CDBG funds for a holiday light festival. David Bownman, State CDBG-DR Grant Manager, explained that holiday light festivals and othe similar events qualify as tourism, and tourism falls under the umbrella of recovery efforts. Mr. Bowman stated that these funds became available for tourism after Hurricane Katrina in an effort to revitalize New Orleans.
The committee and DOLA represenatitives further discussed Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) spending limitations in comparison to the flexibility of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds.
Mr. Halter next responded to questions about broadband and the related progress in rural counties.