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Wheeling Officials Consider Distribution of CDBG Funds

WHEELING — Programs in low- or moderate-income areas of Wheeling soon could find out if they can receive a piece of more than $1 million in grant money as city officials review applications for Community Development Block Grant funding for the next fiscal year.

This week, Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron reported that although the city’s allocation of CDBG funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is slightly less than last year’s, Wheeling’s total CDBG allocation is still significant.

“This year’s allocation is about $16,000 less than last year’s, but still it’s $1,169,000,” Herron said.

Funding through HUD’s annual CDBG programs provide grants to support community development and activities that are aimed at addressing various needs in low- to moderate-income areas.

Eligible local programs can range from infrastructure and economic development projects to housing rehabilitation, public services, homeowner assistance programs and public facilities installations.

In Wheeling, a number of public agencies and facilities use CDBG funding on an annual basis.

“Public service city agencies typically receive funding, including the Nelson Jordan Center, East Wheeling Pool operations and the Human Rights Commission,” Herron said.

Other non-public agencies eligible for this funding each year submit applications to the city for review and subsequent distribution. This week, city council members received proposals from local agencies seeking grant funding for the coming fiscal year.

Herron said the maximum amount that can be used by outside agencies this coming fiscal year is around $175,362. Assuming council agrees to approve recommended amounts for all of the proposed projects eligible for CDBG funds, Herron said the amount available for public projects is $483,000.

The city administration will submit to city council at its next meeting a proposed budget pertaining to CDBG funds on eligible projects. City council will then hold a public hearing on the CDBG budget on April 20, and the proposed budget will be scheduled for adoption on May 4.

Herron explained that the schedule for the CDBG budget, as mandated by HUD, runs about six weeks behind the city’s schedule for planning and finalizing its general fund budget for the fiscal year, which has deadlines issued by the state.

Last year, the city received additional CDBG funds through the CARES Act for distribution to local agencies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also last year, Wheeling officials discussed a desire to change the way the city handles annual CDBG funding distributions. Instead of several local agencies anticipating traditional, smaller awards for which they budget every year, officials thought it may be more beneficial to give out larger awards to select programs or projects on a one-time basis.

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