With the fate of the state's Community Development Block Grant program in doubt due to potential cuts in the federal budget, the Lycoming County commissioners are going to the well to pay for at least some of this year's projects.
The commissioners Thursday will consider using about $286,000 left over from their 2009 and 2010 block grant allocations for this year's program.
The state Department of Community and Economic Development, which administers U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds for the program, has told the county to discontinue the application process for 2011 funding until the amount of available funding is known, William Lowthert of SEDA-Council of Governments said Tuesday.
The council administers the county's block grant program.
According to Lowthert, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution - legislation used by Congress to fund federal agencies until a formal budget is approved - that cut more than 60 percent of the program's funding.
The resolution was defeated in the Senate but there still will be questions regarding funding levels until a federal budget is passed, Lowthert said.
That statement was confirmed by DCED spokeswoman Theresa Elliot.
"At this point, we're waiting for passage of the federal budget, so we can't really comment on the status of the CDBG program," Elliot said. "Until something happens in both chambers, we're not going to know."
Lowthert said the commissioners meeting on Thursday will include a public hearing regarding the funds reallocation. The funds are available because projects those funds were dedicated to never materialized, he said.
For example, a recreation project in Pine Creek Township that received $100,000 in block grant funding later was determined to not meet state requirements for using block grant funds, Lowthert said.
A water system project in Montgomery was abandoned because the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which governs water withdrawal in the river basin region, imposed criteria for the project that could not be met, he said.
Recommendations also will be made Thursday as to which of those projects should be funded with available moneys, he said.
This year, applications representing eight projects totalling almost $800,000 worth of requests have been submitted to the county. They are:
$100,000 by Freedom House Community Worship Center to buy property in Clinton Township that the church wants to turn into a homeless shelter.
$100,000 by Franklin Township to acquire land in Lairdsville to build a sewage treatment plant.
$75,000 by Old Lycoming Township for sewer lateral replacement assistance for low-to-moderate income residents.
$70,000 by McNett Township for stormwater improvements along several roads in the township.
$24,500 by the Community Arts Center to remove a non-operational chairlift and install a new elevator stop.
$350,000 by Woodward Township to buy the former township elementary school and turn it into a community and recreation center.
$10,000 by the YWCA of Northcentral Pennsylvania to replace an accessibility ramp.
$45,000 by the Northcentral Pennsylvania American Red Cross to develop and host Family Care Giving seminars.
Lowthert did not say which projects will be recommended but said they will be the ones that can be started soonest.