Sunday, October 19, 2003

Ruling on refusing grants awaited

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ANDERSON TWP. - Hamilton County officials are awaiting an opinion from the prosecutor's office telling them if it is legal for municipalities to reject funding from the county's Community Development Block Grant program.

Over the past 18 months, nearly a dozen communities, including Anderson Township, withdrew from the program to protest a plan to locate additional public housing units throughout the county.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds that would have gone to community improvements, including roads and public parks, have remained in county coffers.

Anderson Township officials say it's not that they can't use the money - although with a $19 million annual budget, the township isn't substantially hurt if it forgoes its $100,000 annual allotment. Instead, it's that this is their only form of protest.

"The county made a link - that if you wanted to continue to participate in the community development block grant, you had to say that you welcomed the new round of housing purchases," said Henry Dolive, Anderson Township administrator.

Anderson Township trustees said housing subsidies would be better. Housing stock would stay on tax rolls and low-income residents could find affordable housing of their choice.

This month, the county sent a letter asking jurisdictions to support a plan to ask the federal government for 75 additional subsidized housing vouchers, increasing the county's total to just under 2,900.

Anderson Township says this is what should have been done all along.

Even so, in the past year, Cincinnati's Metropolitan Housing Authority purchased nine more properties for public housing in Anderson Township, bringing the total to 20.

Dan Domis, Hamilton County's director of community development, said the housing authority can purchase those properties as part of an existing agreement.

"That agreement runs until 2006," he added. The housing authority "has to purchase 450 units (throughout the county). They've purchased a little over 100 of them since entering into the agreement a year ago."

Domis said it's unclear whether Anderson Township and the other jurisdictions that have pulled out of the block grant program "are still bound by the agreement."

. A prosecutor's office spokesman said that opinion could be issued this month.

"It'd be an interesting scenario if we we're forced to take money," Dolive said.


Ten things to do before riverboats leave
Today's schedule | Getting there and parking
Volunteers in the heart of the action
Partiers enjoy the gloat from the boat
Tall ones liven up harbor
Tall Stacks Notebook

'Little hero' saves neighbors from fire
New homeowners bought lots of trouble
Ryland buys back homes, pays for cleanup
Safe disposal of chemicals is new trend

BRONSON: Cincinnati was made for riverboat life
HOWARD: Good Things Happening
KORTE: Inside City Hall
PULFER: School is a battlefield, and casualties are increasing

Zoo levy scaled back to lessen dependency
How to cast absentee ballot
Voting information on the Web
Updated information on local races

Golden Galaxy achievers stand out
Ruling on refusing grants awaited
Lakota fans cheer big game

Ohio Moments: Codebreaker saved lives
Ohio Bicentennial Notebook
Hearing deficiencies found earlier now
Police, fire pension trustees put limits on travel expenses
Students, retirees share home

Computer gives teachers student alerts