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Thread: Proposed CDBG cuts and the APA

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Proposed CDBG cuts and the APA

    Sometimes I wonder if APA has its own political agenda, maybe I'm wrong. But should the APA be pushing so hard for increasing or sustaining current CDBG funding levels? Do CDBG grants really benefit the majority of towns and cities across the U.S.? Working with smaller towns in the past, under 25k in population I'd say no... As a smaller town most of these programs IMO have the appearance of a leech! Any thoughts? Am I out there in left field by myself???

    (As a side note, I have no preference really for Bush... He's done some good things and some bad things like many recent Presidents IMO. In short I'm nto a G.W. Bush fanatic, LOL)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    Sometimes I wonder if APA has its own political agenda, maybe I'm wrong. But should the APA be pushing so hard for increasing or sustaining current CDBG funding levels? Do CDBG grants really benefit the majority of towns and cities across the U.S.?
    They certainly fund many projects that keep planners gainfully employed.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I've seen a lot of smaller communities use CBDG grants for infrastructure (i.e. sewer, drainage, roads, etc.) improvements.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Jmello, I do understand it benefits some Planners in respect to work. I was employed in part to manage CDBG funds for the town I speak of. Used the funds primarily for water & sewer line replacement. That said I think most of these smaller towns (non-entitlement) end up losing rather than gaining. I've seen a lot of towns spin their wheels in attempt to recoup these dollars that have left their city... Thats not even getting into the inefficiencies in the system. Massive oversight that if handled at the state or maybe better at the local level would be better for most of these towns IMO.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    Jmello, I do understand it benefits some Planners in respect to work. I was employed in part to manage CDBG funds for the town I speak of. Used the funds primarily for water & sewer line replacement. That said I think most of these smaller towns (non-entitlement) end up losing rather than gaining. I've seen a lot of towns spin their wheels in attempt to recoup these dollars that have left their city... Thats not even getting into the inefficiencies in the system. Massive oversight that if handled at the state or maybe better at the local level would be better for most of these towns IMO.
    Your question really isn't about CDBG is it? It's about federal funding of almost anything that is outside defense.

    You might as well make the argument that since x place doesn't get back every last dime they paid to the federal government, the whole system should be sacked.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    No it is specifically to CDBG. I guess if you want to take it as a "philosophy" question one could. But I really don't take issue on all federal programs there are true areas where federal govt. should be involved, defense being one of those. Along with other market failures - ie. environmental issues.

    My question is why is APA pushing for this so hard? Are there not a lot of communities losing out because of CDBG? I think so, its not in the best interest of the majority of communities to have CDBG. Reminds me of a twisted Robinhood.

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    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Supports CDBG

    I'm not sure that any community is "losing out" because other communities get CDBG funds- its not a zero-sum game, the money will go to some other program such as more homeland security if not to CDBG.

    CDBG has allowed many communities to raise the level of planning capacity as well as build some real projects. It seems perfectly reasonable that APA would support the program.

  8. #8
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich
    I'm not sure that any community is "losing out" because other communities get CDBG funds- its not a zero-sum game, the money will go to some other program such as more homeland security if not to CDBG.

    CDBG has allowed many communities to raise the level of planning capacity as well as build some real projects. It seems perfectly reasonable that APA would support the program.
    It's also one of the few programs that give older urban areas a bit of a leg up on the booming suburbs. I think of it as the suburbs giving back to the places that spawned them. Also, Masswich is right that cuts to CDBG do not equal budget reduction--the money will just go elsewhere and out of local government hands. I have seen entire neighborhoods transformed through effective use of CDBG funds.

    Vlaude, if you ever want a twisted version of Robinhood, look no further than Texas education funding (which was just declared unconstitutional...again).

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    LOL, yes I agree Suburban_Repairman...

    My point is I do not believe programs like CDBG should be funded at the Federal level. To me these are sometimes state, but certainly county and city issues. Sure if I give Joe Blow a few millioin dollars he could probably do a great project in Timbuktu, but on a grand scale of things what is the "somewhat" direct benefit to someone living out in AZ paying for this? I understand your point Masswich and I agree with you 110%, but that doesn't make something right or the best practice... Remember though, non-entitlements cities do spin wheels often times fighting for funding...

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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    That said I think most of these smaller towns (non-entitlement) end up losing rather than gaining. I've seen a lot of towns spin their wheels in attempt to recoup these dollars that have left their city...
    I really don't get where you are coming from. In my previous position, I worked as a program manager for a consulting firm that specialized in writing CDBG application and managing CDBG programs for small non-entitlement towns. We managed housing rehab, streetscape, sign and facade and senior center projects. CDBG money was ALWAYS looked at as a gift by these municipalities.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Jmello, most see them as positives, I'm sure... I haven't heard to many people on the receiving end say otherwise. Maybe I'm not making my point very clear. I do not like CDBG type programs funded at the Federal level. Majority of the projects are county and city level improvements. Why should a man in AZ pay for a waterline replacement in Timbuktu? Furthermore diminish the value of these dollars by running them through typically the feds, the state, a consultant, and city staff just to apply to have the right to use them? Just my 2 cents I know I am probably in the minority when discussing this with most planners.

    (Just curious what were the typical consulting fees charged? I haven't worked with consultants for CDBG stuff, but I assume majority are the maximum allowed under the admin costs...)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    Jmello, most see them as positives, I'm sure... I haven't heard to many people on the receiving end say otherwise. Maybe I'm not making my point very clear. I do not like CDBG type programs funded at the Federal level. Majority of the projects are county and city level improvements. Why should a man in AZ pay for a waterline replacement in Timbuktu?
    I actually agree with you. You were not making yourself clear. Essentially the federal government is taking the money from the people and handing it back to the states with a massive number of strings attached. The states then dole it out to the municipalities with even more strings attached. The same thing occurs with the federal gas tax and transportation funds.

    Once upon a time, there were extremely poor and extremely rich states, counties and municipalities within our nation. It was believed that we all had a moral obligation to provide for our fellow Americans, regardless of their state of residence. There are still great disparities, although things have narrowed more recently.

    I do not have a problem with this redistribution of wealth so much as the inefficiencies and excessive level of regulation at the federal and even state level. I think most people would be surprised at the ridiculousness of federal (and Massachusetts) CDBG rules and regulations.

    What I don't get is why you are surprised that the APA would argue for the status quo.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    It is not that I am surprised... I guess I have started to move away from APA in some regards to some of the things they are doing internally. But I don't understand why not push for it in other places. I guess its a thing where they think its there for right or wrong, so don't let it go.

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