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Archive for Monday, May 20, 2013

City expecting 5 percent reduction in Community Development Block Grant funding

May 20, 2013

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From billions of dollars in defense spending to hundreds of dollars in neighborhood newsletter expenses: You never know where the federal budget cut known as sequestration will rear its head.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday are set to approve a new budget for the city's Community Development Block Grant program — which funds everything from home rehabilitation to neighborhood newsletters — that is 5 percent less than a year ago, in part anticipating sequestration cuts.

“It has been a tougher process this year,” said Danelle Dresslar, community development manager for the city. “We still don’t have the final numbers yet on how much federal funding we’ll receive.”

City officials, however, are estimating funding for the program will drop to about $1.14 million, down from about $1.2 million a year ago.

The city’s Community Development Advisory Committee is recommending the funding shortfall be made up largely through reduced funding for Lawrence neighborhood associations, fewer neighborhood capital improvement projects, and a reduction in an affordable housing program for homebuyers.

The group, however, is recommending that funding be boosted for a city-run program that helps rehabilitate low-income housing, as well as for a program that provides tenant-based rental assistance.

Here’s a look at some of the funding recommendations city commissioners will consider at their Tuesday evening meeting:

• Operational funds for the city’s five federally designated low-to-moderate income neighborhoods — Brook Creek, East Lawrence, North Lawrence, Oread and Pinckney — will drop to about $23,400, down from about $32,500 a year ago. The funding is used to pay neighborhood coordinators, to print neighborhood newsletters and other such expenses. The Oread Neighborhood Association will receive the largest cut, dropping to about $3,500 compared to about $8,000 a year ago.

• Operating funds for the Lawrence Community Shelter will drop to $45,000 compared to about $52,000 a year earlier.

• Lawrence-based Tenants to Homeowners, which builds below-market-rate housing for homeowners who have qualifying incomes, will see its funding drop to about $75,000, from about $94,000 a year ago.

• Funding will increase for the city’s comprehensive housing rehabilitation program, which makes repairs to qualifying low-income homes that have problems — everything from electrical to roofing — that could make the home unlivable. Funding will increase to about $333,000, up from about $244,000 a year ago. Dresslar said demand for the program has been high. She said 41 homes applied for assistance during the last two-month application period.

• A rental assistance program run by the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority will have its funding boosted to about $173,000, up from about $155,000 a year ago.

• The commitee proposed to fund fewer capital improvement projects for neighborhoods through the program. Last year the city provided funding for about $100,000 in sidewalk, crosswalk, stormwater and other neighborhood-oriented capital improvement programs. This year, the city is proposing just $40,000 for a project to add a signalized crosswalk near 10th and Connecticut streets in East Lawrence. The crosswalk is on a route to nearby New York Elementary School.

• The advisory committee is recommending $25,000 in funding for a refrigerated food truck for Just Food, the Douglas County-based food bank. Just Food would use the truck to pick up donated meat, produce and dairy items from area grocery and convenience stores. The organization is run by Lawrence City Commissioner Jeremy Farmer. He has said he’ll abstain from voting on the funding request because of a conflict of interest.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.

Comments

Stacy Napier 11 months ago

How about stop all the money. The goverment doesn't need to pay for private news letters or to fix private houses, I don't care if they are low income. Why can't eveyone just work hard for what they need. This is not socialism. I can't get a job so I need help from those who can find a job. This county was built by those who work to get ahead of the others. If you can't afford to fix your house then you make do or work more. If you can't afford a house then you pay rent to those who can.

I am sick and tired about hearing how the goverment has thousands, no millions of dollars to spend on some bs like news letters and houses where the occupants have money for cigarettes, soda and booze.

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oneeye_wilbur 11 months ago

And when the refrigerated truck needs repairs, who pays that? Bad plan for the truck. It will become a money pit and ongoing just like LoringHenderson. Commissioners reckless with money!

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oneeye_wilbur 11 months ago

Give each neighborhood group $500. A communal newsletter can be produced at City Hall. It's time that dept did something since tey get the bulk of the funds.

Those sidewalks should be funded with the gap program money.

Make a matching gift to just food. $12,500 and the food bank raises the rest.

CDBG has been turned into another United Way fund.

Commissioners, grow a set and put more money into the neighborhoods for city wide cleanups.

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