City of Warren is not a charity
Given the roller coaster ride that has been Warren City Council’s and the city administration’s dealings with the Community Development Block Grant money, handing over around $100,000 to non-profits, will they be smart enough to not promise any money to groups in 2018?
CDBG is tax payer money funneled back into local government. After certain requirements are met, this money does not have to be handed out to groups that service very small numbers of people. It can be used for road and infrastructure work that would benefit many more people. A mile of road costs around $150,000 to resurface. The engineer could have used matching grants and parlay that $100,000 into more money for road work. Maybe this money could be used to make sure the sidewalks are intact in the area around Warren G. Harding High School where students are expected to walk. Maybe that would be a better use for that $100,000 than helping out rehab groups and handing a check to a non-profit that, believe it or not, gave their director $200,000 in compensation in 2014.
If Warren cannot support community development personnel to oversee handing this money out, which has been established well this year, will the non-profit free money train be closed in 2018? Or will certain elements on council continue to need to pander to those groups? One council member, at some point during this brouhaha, said something along the lines of this CDBG money was the only thing poor people got from the city. Wow. So it is Warren City government’s job to hand out things to the poor now? I thought it was local government’s job to keep roads surfaced and free of snow in the winter and keep people safe with fire and police protection.
Let’s hope that, as a body, Warren City Council refocuses priorities and realizes that serving the many needs to be a priority over handing out checks to organizations that help mere handfuls of people.