Block grant allocations debated at Lima Council

By Craig Kelly -

LIMA — Lima City Council’s agenda meeting got off to a late start Monday after a third and final public hearing for Community Development Block Grant allocations extended to nearly an hour as issues including administrative allocations and money for street repair was debated.

The city of Lima has been allotted more than $955,000 for the next funding year, which begins in October. The city’s Community Development Department received a variety of applications for the funds that was comparable to this previous year, covering agencies such as the Bradfield Center as well as housing and community development projects and agencies.

The source of Monday’s debate centered around a previous recommendation from Lima City Council’s Economic and Community Development Committee to eliminate grant funding for administration, which totaled $148,000, as well as neighborhood assistance, diverting those funds to street repair and the Bradfield Center. Administrative expenses would then be paid through the city’s general fund.

Council President John Nixon voiced concern about moving administrative funding to the city rather than through the grant process, saying funding the administration of the grant allocations is an expense the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development expects to see paid for through grant funds.

“CDBG money comes with a lot of strings attached, and they expect you to pay for these expenses,” he said.

In the end, the council voted to restore the administrative allocation and reduce allocations for neighborhood assistance from $97,000 to $80,000, with the city’s general fund making up the difference. The Bradfield Center would also see an additional $10,000 in funding, with its total allocation raised to $66,000. The final version of the allocation will be voted upon at the next council meeting.

Additional measures taken at the meeting were filing a liquor license transfer request for the Beantown Saloon to Helen Ruth Investments with an objection. A hearing will have to be held in Lima with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, in which the city administration will have to make a case as to why the transfer should not take place. The investment company’s president is Thelma Banks, the owner of the Gas Station Bar, the subject of a lawsuit by the city aiming to shut the bar down. The bar was the site of a fatal shooting last week.

Additionally, the city’s Law Department and the Civil Service Board will be renting space in the Allen County Regional Transit Authority building, with the law department’s criminal division moving into the building this year and the civil division moving in next year. According to the ordinance, the rental agreement will be in effect until 2022 at a rate of $4,500 per month.

By Craig Kelly

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.

Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.