Some Delaware city officials are concerned about a portion of the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget and are asking city council to formally oppose it.
Council will consider a resolution at its meeting on Monday to oppose the budget’s elimination of Community Development Block Grants and the HOME Investment Partnership program funding for the fiscal year 2018.
“Passage of the proposed federal budget will eliminate these programs. We would recommend engaging our state and national representatives to help maintain this critical funding that has produced needed improvements to our community through many years,” Delaware Planning and Community Development Director David Efland wrote in a memo to City Manager R. Thomas Homan.
CDBG funds are used for qualified projects to revitalize communities and provide public services such as park improvements, demolition of unsafe structures, and historic preservation. HOME funds are used for a variety of housing initiatives including tenant-based rental assistance, housing rehabilitation, and down-payment assistance to home buyers.
The state has provided an annual CDBG grant allocation of about $80,000 per year to the city. But it has already taken preemptive action to instead allocate CDBG funds once every two years, meaning the city would not receive funding for the 2018 construction season, but would receive funds for the 2019 season.
Over the last decade, the City of Delaware has received more than a million dollars in CDBG funding and put it to use for projects and programs such as street repaving, sidewalk, curb, and bike path improvements, downtown revitalization, a roof for the Liberty Community Center, demolition of blighted properties, rental assistance, and construction of four Habitat for Humanity homes.
In other business, council will:
• consider establishing a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on July 24 if it receives an application by July 7 to have a designated outdoor refreshment area in downtown. The DORA would allow downtown patrons to walk within a specified area while drinking an alcoholic beverage. Council discussed earlier this month about when the DORA would become active.
• consider a resolution to allow the city manager to negotiate an incentive package with COHatch to establish a co-working space in downtown Delaware. Potential locations include the former Gazette and the Brooklyn Heights buildings, both located on William Street near its intersection with Sandusky Street.
Council will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1 S. Sandusky St.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.