Last updated: December 02. 2013 9:41PM - 1248 Views
By - lmihm@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA — Money is dwindling and competition is rising.

That was the clear message from Lima Director of Community Development Amy Odum on Monday as she briefly addressed Lima City Council on the city’s annual update to its five-year consolidated plan.

The plan is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development and must be updated on an annual basis. The plan was submitted in 2010 and a plan year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. The key point made by Odum during her presentation that funding is decreasing and it is important to hear input from both city officials and residents as money available through grants grows smaller and smaller.

“We use this money as leverage to attract other funds,” Odum said. “We use it as match dollars so we can secure other grants to increase their values. The big story is the funding is decreasing and it will continue to decrease. We need to know where people want these funds to be channeled.

The plan covers both money collected from Community Development Block Grants and Home Improvement Partnership Funds. CDBG funds can be used for housing, community economic development activities that assist low- and moderate-income families, eliminating slum and blight, and addressing community needs. HOME funds can be used only for housing activities with income less than 80 percent of the Lima-area median income, which is $47,050 for a family of four.

“For the program year 2012-13, we received $946,551 in CDBG funds,” Odum said. “We received $251,197 in HOME funds.”

Odum reported the CDBG total as down $178,000 from the previous year and HOME funds were down $115,000.

Total expenditures from CDBG and HOME combined were about $2.2 million through the plan year, but are expected to drop to $1.5 million for 2013-14. About 55 percent of the funds were used for community development, 29 percent for housing development, 15 percent in administration costs and 1 percent economic development.

Odum stressed the importance of the funding and why efforts need to be concentrated on where to spend the money. The city reached its goals for the funding the previous year, including update repairs on six homes in Lima and helping 16 homebuyers through its First Home Lima program, which aids homebuyers in securing a down payment on homes. The program resulted in more than $891,000 in housing sales last year.

“The beginning balance decreased by 30 percent combined,” Odum said.

In other business, Bob Horton briefly addressed the recent push to establish “stand your ground” legislation in Ohio and his opposition to it.

“In my humble opinion, the state does not need stand your ground,” Horton said. “We already have laws in place to protect citizens. If a person is threatened, they should contact law enforcement and try to get away.”

Under current law, those under threat are not required to retreat if they are in their home, on their property or in their vehicle, before using deadly force to protect themselves or their family. However, victims are required to retreat if possible when facing a threat in public places before they can use deadly force to defend themselves. The stand your ground provision would eliminate that section of the law.

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