Public Survey and Input

PITTSFIELD – The Pittsfield Department of Community Development has announced the availability of a public survey to help receive public input regarding community needs.  The survey is being used to help gather public opinion which will be used in the preparation of the City’s 5-year Consolidated Plan.  The City of Pittsfield receives Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) each year and, in order to receive the funds, a plan must be submitted to HUD outlining how the City plans to spend the funding over a five-year period. CDBG regulations require public input during the plan preparation process. As part of the public input process, the City is utilizing a public survey to allow its residents to have a voice in how the CDBG funds are spent by telling the City where the greatest needs are in the community. The City conducted a similar survey five years ago and the results were extremely helpful.  The data gathered from the survey will be used to help prioritize community needs.

The public survey is available electronically through Survey Monkey, a popular survey website, and paper copies of the blank survey will also be distributed in order to try and reach as many people as possible. An electronic link entitled “CDBG Public Survey”, that will take Pittsfield residents directly to the survey, has been posted on the homepage of the City’s website at www.cityofpittsfield.org.  City residents are encouraged to go on-line and complete the survey at their own convenience until March 1, 2015.

The City also will be distributing approximately 3,000 copies of the survey in paper format. In previous years, the City found that distributing a paper copy provided people without access to a computer the ability to participate. The City has utilized the Pittsfield Public Schools to help distribute paper copies of the survey as well as a number of agencies and organizations such as Berkshire Community Action Council, Berkshire Children and Families, Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, the Pittsfield Housing Authority, the Christian Center, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Child Care of the Berkshires, the Salvation Army, the Westside Neighborhood Initiative, and the Morningside Neighborhood Initiative.

In addition to the public survey, the Pittsfield Department of Community Development will also be sponsoring two public input sessions to gather public comments as part of the preparation of its five-year Consolidated Plan and fiscal year 2016 Annual Action Plan. Pittsfield residents are invited to attend either one of two public input meetings that are scheduled for February.  The results of both the public input sessions and the public surveys will be used to determine the types of programs and projects that will be funded with CDBG money over the next five years to help improve the quality of life in our community.

The first public input meeting will be held on Monday, February 9, 2015 at 5:45 p.m. at Morningside Community School, Community Room, located at 100 Burbank Street, Pittsfield, MA.  The second public input meeting will be held on Monday, February 23, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at Conte Community School, Community Room, located at 200 West Union Street, Pittsfield, MA.

Everyone who attends one of these public input sessions will be given the opportunity to speak on what community issues are important to them, such as: housing; public facilities; job opportunities; crime; drug and alcohol abuse; childcare; domestic violence; handicapped services; and elderly services.

The City’s five-year Consolidated Plan will address the period of time beginning July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020. The Annual Action Plan is for the period beginning July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 and will be prepared and included within the five-year Consolidated Plan document. Projects funded with the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) are included in the Annual Action Plan and are required to benefit low and moderate-income people or eliminate slums and blight.

The five-year Consolidated Plan, including the fiscal year 2016 Annual Action Plan, will be available in draft form in mid-April 2015 for the public to review and comment.  The Plan will also undergo a formal adoption process, including a formal public hearing that will be publicly advertised. The Plan will be completed and adopted by the middle of May and is due at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shortly thereafter.

If residents are unable to attend the public input sessions, they can drop off or mail their comments to the Pittsfield Department of Community Development, City Hall, 70 Allen Street, Room 205, Pittsfield, MA at (413) 499-9368 or by TTY at (413) 499-9340.  Public comments may also be e-mailed to officeofDCD@pittsfieldch.com.  Persons with special needs should contact the Pittsfield Department of Community Development and every effort will be made to accommodate their requests.