Biggs City Council members heard from City Planner Scott Friend Tuesday night regarding the Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) of the State of California award of $406,100 through the Housing Related Parks Program.

Besides the North Biggs Estates qualifying for the base amount of $500 per bedroom for each unit affordable to low-income households and $750 per bedroom for each unit affordable to very low-income households, the project qualified for bonus funding from New Construction units - $250 bonus per low income bedroom; $300 bonus per very-low income bedroom; Park-Deficient Community, $500 bonus award per bedroom; Regional Housing Needs Allocation, $50 bonus per low income bedroom; $75 per very-low income bedroom and Infill Units, $250 bonus per bedroom.

Planning staff presented six proposals for new or improved park features and recreational facilities at their regular February Council meeting for which grant funding may be allocated.

Staff ranked the project proposals in terms of priority and Council approved the following top three proposals: the creation of a "tot lot" for families with young children in the newly established North Biggs Estates neighborhood; construction of anew public restroom facility in Family Park; Development of the city-owned vacant lot on Trent Street into a passive recreation site and addition of a covered picnic/event area in Family Park and possible relocation of the existing gazebo structure.

Other proposals for the future, should the funds be available would include: the addition of a covered picnic/event area in Family Park and possible relocation of the existing gazebo structure and development of a dog park on the City-owned lot at the south end of 7th Street and south of Bannock Street (Electric sub-station entrance parcel).

Should any of the desired park projects not qualify as eligible uses for the grant funding, other resources could be applied to cover the project costs. The City of Biggs has collected development impact fees for which a portion of those fees are intended to be used for new parks and recreation features.

Park funds cannot be used for staff time spent preparing the request for proposals and facilitating the execution of the standard agreement and disbursement of funds but it was confirmed that grant can be used to cover the costs of park project design and construction/rehabilitation, as well as land acquisition.

In other matters - Council approved the purchase of 2,400 Portfolio Content Category 1 Renewable Energy Certificates at a price not to exceed $20 per REC in order to proactively bring the City of Biggs into compliance with the State of California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for Compliance Period 3, ending on December 31, 2020.

Council gave official support for a letter written by Senator Jim Nielsen and Assembly Member James Gallagher's offices regarding the Oroville Dam operation and maintenance issues sent to area government agencies, community groups such as Chambers of Commerce, individuals and businesses affected by the recent Oroville Dam crisis.

The first community forum regarding Oroville Dam will be held at the Butte County Fairgrounds Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m., and the public is invited to attend and have their questions answered.