City of Lima releases draft for CDBG, HOME allocations

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — The preliminary numbers determining how Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME funds will be allocated in the 2018-2019 year have been released by the City of Lima.

Out of the 14 proposal requests received for CDBG funding, the majority are slated to be funded in full or close to full.

This year, the city received one new request for a startup lab program ran by the nonprofit Urban Impact Ohio. The new program “includes a 10 week course that will help new entrepreneurs learn a variety of things that they need to know to turn a side business into a sustainable business for them,” Director of Community Development Susan Crotty said.

However, allocations by the Public Works Department were roughly $1.5 million short of what it had requested for street repair, parks improvement and demolition.

Director of Public Works Howard Elstro said his department had been allocated over $1 million to street repair in the ’90s back when paving a mile of road cost $1,000. Today, when paving the same road costs $300,000, his department is set to receive $150,000 from CDBG funds.

Last year, out of the $1.1 million set aside by the city for road repair, $180,000 came from CDBG funds. Elstro said the city should be spending closer to $2 million annually on roads to stay on top of Lima’s deteriorating road system.

As for HOME funds, a few allocations differed from the amounts requested. For example, the city increased the allocation of the First Home Lima program, which helps first-time home buyers secure a down payment on homes, and shorted the request for the Lima Home Update Loan program, which gives out loans to property owners to repair their homes.

Altogether, the city received $1,033,006 in CDBG funds and $341,442 in HOME funds, which is 7.9 percent higher than last year’s federal allocation.

The amount allocated by the federal government to each community is determined by a formula taking into account each community’s housing issues and needs. Moneys are earmarked to serve low- to middle-income areas.

The draft released this past Monday during the first public hearing do not reflect final allocations, although Crotty said changes most likely won’t be major because of the need to follow the city’s five-year plan for CDBG funds.

A five-year plan is necessary to receive CDBG funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Crotty said, and non-compliance can result in the loss of funds.

A second public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 18 during Lima City Council’s regular meeting, while a third public hearing to be held at 7 p.m. July 2 during Lima City Council will review the final draft. Approval will then be undertaken during Lima City Council’s July 23 meeting.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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