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Macomb County

County increases funding to community service agency

January 30, 2013

MOUNT CLEMENS — The Macomb County Board of Commissioners approved at its Jan. 24 meeting a $254,000 increase in federal grant money to the Macomb County Community Services Agency’s Community Action Centers.

The needed increase to the agency reflects an increasing number of low-income residents living in the county. During the winters, the action centers work with residents to replace and repair furnaces, weatherize homes, and assist residents with paying their utility bills, according to the MCCSA website.

Because of a higher-than-anticipated number of low-income residents living in Macomb, the Executive’s Office requested the increase from $1.1 million to $1.3 million, out of fear that the program would run out of money.

Pam Lavers, assistant county executive, said the additional grant money would be utilized immediately.

“Basically, it’s revenue coming and the expenditures will be going out,” she said.

Lavers said the county continually receives the grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the federal government underestimated the number of residents who would be living under the poverty line in the county for 2013.

“(HUD) made us aware that the allocation of grant funds increased because our low-income population for the entire year increased,” Lavers said. “We didn’t want to cut it where we would have money and not be able to service them.”

Commissioner Jim Carabelli, a Republican representing the 6th District, said he supported the increase in funding but wanted to see additional details in the future. Carabelli wanted to know how many more homes would be helped by the increase and whether Macomb County contractors are being used.

“Just some specifications of what it is,” Carabelli asked of Lavers during the meeting. “I heard it’s a great program, but are we getting the value for our dollar?”

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