Focusing on Basics In Spending Grant

Public officials love ribbon-cutting ceremonies for big taxpayer-funded projects. The temptation to use funds not needed in day-to-day government operations for such work is great.

That makes Wheeling officials’ plan for spending $1,072,464 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds especially noteworthy — and deserving of praise.

Nearly $356,000 of the total is being earmarked to replace 14 fire hydrants and 10 water line valves. Not exactly glamorous stuff, is it?

But using CDBG money for the purpose will hold down water rates in Wheeling. It will ensure that when firefighters need water, their hoses are connected to functioning hydrants.

City Manager Robert Herron noted the idea behind CDBG spending is “to focus on infrastructure.”

Good. Too often, big chunks of state and/or federal funding are used to construct new facilities that, down the road, are a drain on taxpayers. Wheeling officials are right to concentrate on the basics.

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