Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

As Obama announces cuts in block grants, local officials calculate aftermath

It has paid to help rebuild a historic elementary school in St. Petersburg, financed water and sewer projects in Hillsborough County and paid off debt for Tampa's Centro Ybor.

Created in 1974, Community Development Block Grants is the federal government's oldest program designed to improve the nation's low-income areas. President Barack Obama's announcement Monday that he plans to cut it by 7.5 percent as part of his budget proposal had local officials wondering what the reduction would mean for Tampa Bay.

State and local government across Florida received about $172 million in community development block grants for 2010-11. Tampa Bay received 12 percent, or about $21 million. In addition, the state got $81 million in grants specified for affordable housing projects, with about $10 million spent in Tampa Bay. That program would also be cut under Obama's proposal.

"It's moving so quickly, I can't tell you what kind of impact this will have," said Sheri Harris, Pinellas County's planning development manager.

Pinellas spent this year's $3.2 million on a wide variety of programs and services, such as $290,000 to the YMCA of the Suncoast, $150,000 for a storm drainage study in Lealman, $300,000 for sidewalk and street improvements in Oldsmar, and $216,000 in pedestrian lighting for Tarpon Springs.

Goliath Davis, St. Petersburg's senior administrator of community enrichment, said the city assumed it would receive about $2.4 million next year, the amount it received this year. About $543,000 was spent to help rehabilitate historic Jordan Elementary in Midtown.

Hillsborough County received $6.4 million last year.

"Until it actually gets discussed by Congress, it's hard to say what the impacts might be," said Paula Harvey, the interim director of Hillsborough's affordable housing department.

Tampa currently gets $4.1 million from the program, budget officer Dennis Rogero said. About $420,000 goes to repay debt associated with the Centro Ybor complex built in the late 1990s.

Pasco County gets about $2.6 million each year. It has pledged $1.1 million of its annual total for the next 17 years to repay a federal loan for a major rehabilitation project in the impoverished Tommytown community outside Dade City.

Under block grant monies, Hernando County has been operating its neighborhood stabilization program, where qualified home buyers purchase foreclosed homes, fix them up and move in with federal money to pay some of the cost.

Brooksville is seeking federal dollars for water projects. State officials visited Brooksville late last month, and city officials are hopeful they will receive funding.

"It's really tough to do it as a small city otherwise,'' said Bill Geiger, community development director. "Losing the bock grants would very dramatically impact our communities and what our cities and communities can do into the future.''

Times staff writers Alex Leary, Lee Logan and Barbara Behrendt contributed to this report.

As Obama announces cuts in block grants, local officials calculate aftermath 02/14/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 6:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle