Greendale — The Village Board last week narrowly passed an amended application for money through the Community Development Block Grant program in wake of a federal audit that has dramatically rearranged how the program's funds are distributed within Milwaukee County.
In the new application, Greendale is only asking for about $10,000 to help fund an adult program coordinator in the community, and about $26,000 for improvements to the Grounds Building and Hose Tower, contingent on Greendale having senior programs in that building.
The funds for these two projects amount to much less than what Greendale originally asked for. Village Manager Todd Michaels said that these are the only two projects he could arrange to get funding for with the county.
"We're applying and asking for this now because it qualifies," Michaels said. "If we don't (change our application), they will say no."
Village officials had hoped to get funding for the ADA Pathway Improvement Project, but requests related to multiple components of that project were rejected.
The Community Development Block Grant program is funded by the federal government, but the money is distributed by Milwaukee County. The funds are separate from the money that the city of Milwaukee gets through the same program, which are distributed by Milwaukee's Common Council.
A federal audit of how the program's funds have been distributed throughout the county has markedly shifted what kinds of projects are receiving funding — and more so what kinds of communities are receiving grants.
Michaels explained that the CDBG money that Greendale and other communities have come to expect is now being diverted to lower-income communities, such as Cudahy and South Milwaukee. He was told that even wealthier communities, specifically River Hills, were informed that they should never expect to receive funding.
"We've been riding this for a long time knowing that it was going to go away, and we still got some of it to put to use, thank goodness," President John Hermes said. "The bad news is that we have to take things like sidewalks, now, and put them in our roads budget and come up with the extra money to keep our paths and our walkways well-maintained and safe."
Michaels went on to explain how he worked with county officials to find some way that Greendale might receive funding for anything, and all that they could find were the projects for adult programs and the Grounds Building improvements.
The funding for the improvements on the Grounds Building and Hose Tower is actually a senior program grant, and the money depends on the village making renovations on the building to accommodate the Golden Ager/Senior Social Club Program, which is currently held at St. Luke's Church, 6705 Northway.
Some trustees were reluctant to give up on finding other projects, but Michaels, Hermes and other trustees urged the board to pass the amended application so the village could at least get something.
In the end, the board approved the amended application by a one-vote margin, with trustees James Birmingham, Sally Chadwick, Carl Genz and President Hermes voting to approve it, and trustees Ronald Barbian, Allan Sikorski and Gregory Turay voting against it.
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