WARREN - City council today will consider how to spend nearly $1 million in the city's 2014 allocation of Housing and Urban Development's community block grant funds.
The grant breaks down to: $650,000 for administration priorities, $150,000 for organizations serving low-income residents, and $200,000 to pay for administrative services.
The largest portion of the money, $300,000, will be used to repair streets in low-to-moderate income areas.
"The areas that are eligible for CDBG funds are not those that likely receive any money from the bonds being proposed to council," Community Development Director Michael Keys said about separate bond issues also up for consideration today by council.
The next two largest CDBG allocations are $200,000 for Community Development program administration, and $150,000 for Community Development & Economic Development Professional Services Professional Services.
The $200,000 for the program administration pays for the operation of the city's Community Development office.
"This pays for the operations of my office," Keys said. "We do not receive any funding from the city's general fund. Our salaries and benefits come from these HUD funds."
There are five employees, including Keys, in the department.
Mayor Doug Franklin said federal regulations allow the grant recipient to use up to 20 percent of it for administration.
"Using the grant to pay for the administration of Community Development allows us to use our general fund money in other ways, including support of the police and fire departments," Franklin said.
About $150,000 is for professional services that are being provided to outside organizations, such as Warren Redevelopment And Planning Corp. WRAP performs economic development services for the city, including overseeing its loan program and the operation of the downtown incubator.
In 2014, WRAP will be in the third year of a three-year contract with the city to provide the economic development for the city, to administer its CDBG revolving loan fund, its mini loan fund participation and its facade loan program. It also administers other CDBG loan funds, including Urban Design Action Grant repayment funds.
Under the terms of the contract, it has received $88,000 during each of the first two years and will receive $90,000 in 2014.
About $46,000 is being directed to the demolition of homes. The city sets aside money from these CDBG funds for property demolitions every year.
The amount has not been affected by the Moving Ohio Forward program in which the city is planning to tear down more than 100 properties in targeted areas.
"The money set aside from the CDBG is for emergency demolitions needed because of house fires or other health and safety issues," Franklin said.
About $5,000 from CDBG would be used to place surveillance cameras in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to determine if a wider program would be effective.
Councilwoman Cheryl Saffold, D-6th Ward, has been a supporter of placing cameras around the city to help police identify people involved in crimes and as a deterrent.
Council also plans today to vote on a $2.5 million bond for road repairs, a $4 million bond to rehabilitate various city buildings and a $2 million bond to purchase a building for various city departments.