Clinton approves block grants

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published April 17, 2013

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Township recreation and single-family home rehabilitation are among the list of programs slated to receive community development block grant dollars from Clinton Township this year.

Under a 7-0 vote on April 8, the township Board of Trustees approved allocations for an estimated $509,909 in community development block grants for the fiscal year that began April 1. The grant dollars are allocated to municipalities from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Community development block grant dollars are meant to generate decent housing and suitable living environments for moderate- to low-income residents, as well as senior citizens, and to expand economic opportunities for those demographics.

Township Planning Director Carlo Santia said program funds received by the township have been dropping for more than a decade. This year, because of sequestration cuts at the federal level, there is another projected 5 percent reduction, he said.

However, Clinton Township still was able to allocate more than this year’s total allocation — $462,666 — using more than $47,000 in funds that were allocated in previous years, but went unused by their recipients for one reason or another.

Township Supervisor Robert Cannon said during the April 8 meeting that he remembered when the funding was more than double what it is now. “It’s gone down every year,” he said. “We took a hit, as did every community, this year.

“We have a lot of needs that are going to remain partially (filled) or not filled at all.”

According to a township outline of funding requests this year, more than $970,783 in funding requests were submitted.

The funding allocations came to the Board of Trustees recommended by the township’s Budget/Ways and Means Committee. The township board had referred the funding requests to the committee on March 11, after a public hearing on the matter.

This year’s plan also calls for setting aside $235,000 for no-interest loans to rehabilitate single-family homes for low- to moderate-income individuals. Santia said the home rehabilitations, which can include things like roof or furnace replacements, help stabilize property values within those neighborhoods. The loans are paid back if and when the recipient sells their home.

Public service activities — limited by federal law to 15 percent of the total entitlement available, excluding reprogrammed funds from previous years — totaled $69,400. Allocations of $500, $1,000 and $3,000 went to other programs serving victims of abuse and low-income and homeless individuals.

The plan also calls for allocating $43,000 to develop Prince Drewry Park on Quinn Road with amenities like a basketball court and a concrete pavilion.

Furnace replacements at Heritage Estates senior complex received $60,000.

Another $42,976 went to the development of Prince Drewry Park on Quinn Road.

Another $90,000 went back for the operational costs of facilitating the block grant program, which Santia said is a year-round process.

Township Recreation Director Linda Walter said the $51,400 that was allocated for parks and recreation programs will go to fund programs like free summer camps for special education students and low- to moderate-income children living in qualifying neighborhoods.

She said the money is well-spent on people who can use the help.

“We have neighborhoods with wonderful families who are just suffering economically, and they can’t afford to do things for their families,” Walter said. “It’s so nice to have federal money come back into our community to help us help our own people.”

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