Director hopes budget cuts don’t ‘survive’


The city of Delaware’s planning and community development director criticized a portion of the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget.

But David Efland said he does not expect Congress to approve the president’s plan to eliminate programs such as Community Development Block Grants and HOME funding during the budget process.

“I certainly hope it doesn’t survive,” he said at the Delaware Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night.

The CDBG program, in particular, provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1,209 general units of local government and states. The program began in 1974 and is one of the longest continuously run programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson went before the U.S. Senate Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday to defend the proposal to cut the $3 billion annual investment in the program, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“In an atmosphere of severe fiscal constraint, we have to be able to concentrate on what our primary goals are,” he said.

Carson said CDBG provides only one-quarter of its funding for the specific purpose of providing safe and affordable housing, which he called HUD’s primary mission.

“We have to begin to think about those who are coming after us,” Carson said. “We have to establish fiscal responsibility.”

Cynthia Bowen, president of the American Planning Association, disagreed.

“The federal budget proposal released today utterly fails to meet the needs of the nation’s communities,” she said in a statement released in March.

“Simply put, the scope of these cuts places jobs, development projects, and public health at risk. Further, the proposed changes threaten to undermine expressed priorities of President Trump, ranging from infrastructure investment to boosting growth and jobs,” she said.

Efland, an APA member, said Bowen issued “perhaps the most strongly worded statement I’ve seen from my professional organization nationally.”

He said the city has used money from CDBG and other federal programs to help with street re-pavements and community improvements such as the Jack Florance Pool at Mingo Park.

In addition, the city has used CBDG funds for its Downtown Facade Improvement Program, which helps owners to fund face-lifts for the storefront of their properties. Six businesses took advantage of the program in 2016, committing $74,510 of their funds to match $65,509 in grant funding.

The program has invested nearly $800,000 over the last five years, with $344,000 in grant funds.

In other business:

• The commission approved development plans for City Council’s consideration of two projects for a combined total of 130 single-family lots.

Pulte Homes will seek council approval of its final development plan and subdivision plat for Section 11 of the Communities at Glenross project, just south of Cheshire Road. The section consists of 58 single-family lots on more than 22 acres.

The project dates back to 2006 with the most recent action taken in August.

• For the other project, Glenn Road Capital LLC seeks council approval of preliminary and final plans and subdivision plats for sections 4 and 5 of the Belmont Place development, which consists of 72 single-family lots on about 21.5 acres, located on McNamara Loop, Nevill Lane and Squaregaiter Lane.

The project dates back to 2009 with council approving final development plans for sections 1-3 in 2014. Those three sections had their subdivision plats approved by April and contained 74 single-family lots.

Planning Commission gives OK for 2 projects

By Brandon Klein

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Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

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