Sunday, February 26, 2017

Salem's 2017 Social Spending

The Commission finished making its 2017 recommendations a little early this year (for earlier posts on this subject, start here).  They had an easier job of it, it seems, as there was more money available.  We're guessing the feds pushed a little more out at the end of 2016, anticipating the new administration would have other priorities, which is good for communities this year, but maybe not those to come.

At left are the numbers, based on what was said and shown at the meeting held last Wednesday in the conference room of the Urban Development Department.  (The public are not provided the project summaries or  spreadsheets).

For those not seated close to the spreadsheet projected onto the wall (i.e., not on the Commission), the numbers were rather hard to make out.  I thought about waiting to publish until I could confirm a couple of the totals with staff, but considering how, uhm, fluid these figures have tended to be, it's doubtful one can ever know for sure who got what, exactly.  In any case, the City Council has yet to approve the Commission's award recommendations, though they rarely change them.

This year's awards look a lot like previous years' awards.  MWVCAA's HOME Youth and Resource Center is missing from the recipients (someone flubbed the application deadline), as are Women at the Well/Grace House (applied, didn't get anything) and Mano a Mano (also missed deadline).  Other details below. 

* Merit's executive director is married to the manager of Federal Programs Division, who staffs the Commission.  [Update: manager left in April to go to work for Catholic Community Services.]

**The City Council pre-approved an award of $500,000 for this SHA project for this year, plus an additional $58,040 (leftovers?).

***It was said at the meeting that the Commission had said last year it would not award any additional funds to the Jason Lee Manor rehab project, because of amounts already awarded.  However, staff announced at the meeting that they had found $148,200 in some sort of reserve that the project might be eligible for, and offered reasons why the Commission should approve the award, notwithstanding their previous determination not to do so.  Commissioner Vargas argued strongly in opposition, but the recommendation passed anyway.

^The City's General Fund allocation was $400,000, which leaves $575 to be allocated.

The Commission's recommendations go to the City Council in March, and the final figures will be published in the Annual Action Plan in mid-March.  This blog will be updated/corrected as information is made available.

[Update 2/26/17:  The current administration has indicated that so-called "sanctuary cities" risk their  entitlement to federal funding, which could include CDBG and HOME funds.  After posting this blog, we spotted an item on Monday night's City Council agenda indicating the Council will consider Councilor Andersen's motion to adopt a "sanctuary city"-type declaration, specifically:

Resolution 2017-22 (proposed)
Salem would not be the first to make such a declaration.  For more discussion, see the linked articles.]
[Update 2/27/17: the resolution was adopted.][Update 3/9/17: chart and text corrected to be consistent with the minutes, now published, which explain all inconsistencies originally cited, except where the funds allocated to the Jason Lee Manor project came from.  In other news, the Washington Post reported on leaked preliminary budget documents from HUD that outline deep cuts in FY 2018.  Under the preliminary budget discussed in these documents, the CDBG and HOME Investment Partnership programs would be eliminated.]

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