When the Federal Government provides funds to local government, there are always strings attached and requirements that must be met to receive those funds.  

When the population of Blue Springs reached 50,000 residents we met the eligibility requirements to receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the federal government.  The 2012-2013 budget that begins October 1st includes an estimated $211,866 from this program.   Following a presentation by city staff regarding previous use of CDBG funds at the most recent council meeting, the City Council began the discussion regarding the best use, as allowed by the program, of those funds.

From the time when Blue Springs began receiving CDBG funds we have received nearly one million dollars from the Federal Government and have allocated those funds in the following manner:

  • Parks - $65,000
  • Streetlights - $166,884
  • Sidewalks - $563,299
  • Programs
    • Minor Home Repair - $84,093
    • First Time Home Buyer - $46,837
  • Administration - $5,556

This year we are considering the following opportunities:

  • Historic District Sidewalks - $50,000
  • Main Street Lighting -$75,000
  • Main & 15th St Crosswalks - $50,000
  • Missouri Main Street (Downtown Alive!) - $5,000
  • Downtown Commercial Façade Grant Program - $50,000
  • Historic Building Restoration - $100,000
  • Minor Home Repair Program - $60,000
  • First Time Home Buyer Program - $39,000
  • CDBG Administration Funds - $6,000

As you can see, there are substantially more opportunities than anticipated funding would support, requiring the council to evaluate each opportunity and decide the best options for our community.  This is one of the responsibilities of the city council and, with input from our constituents, the council is able to direct funding to the programs and infrastructure enhancements that meet the goals of the residents of Blue Springs.

Councilman Fowler’s comments Monday evening raised the issue of the importance of balancing the funds between commercial and residential uses.  Balance is a word we frequently hear in politics today, especially at the federal level.  Balance is important, but to be meaningful it must be clearly defined both on the federal level and locally.   Finding the appropriate balance for all funds the city administers within its budget is a complex and lengthy process, as we carefully consider all aspects of balancing the needs and wants of government and residents.  

Utilization of CDBG funds can provide benefits to our residents and businesses both directly and indirectly.  As the council evaluates and decides on the best use of these funds, I am confident we will find an appropriate balance, and your input is an important component in the process.  Please share your thoughts with your city council representatives; contact information is available at http://bit.ly/BSCouncilContacts

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