The City Council voted Thursday to transfer $135,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding from city services such as street paving and vacant building demolition to a number of local neighborhood groups.
The groups and projects which will be funded include the following:
First Street Improvement Project (Think First Neighborhood) - $5,000
Mt. Ida Neighborhood Center Project (Mt. Ida Preservation) - $10,000
Second St. Sidewalk/Curbing Project (Burden Ironworks Neighborhood) - $20,000
South Troy Street Improvements (Burden Ironworks Neighborhood) - $20,000
Stow Ave. Streetscape
Improvements (Stow Farm Neighborhood) - $35,000
Troy Little Italy Revitalization Project (Troy Little Italy) - $10,000
Two-Way Fourth Street Sidewalk/Curb (Burden Ironworks Neighborhood
Block Improvements (Contemporary Artists Center) - $5,000
Street Bridge Gateway Park (North Lansingburgh
Neighborhood) - $10,000
The council also moved $10,000 to both the YWCA's
Ready for Work program and the Troy Public Library for installation of an elevator, along with $5,000 for the Italian Community Center's Westside
Councilman Mark Wojcik
, R-District 1, made a motion to zero out all of the neighborhood funding and put the money back into city services because neighborhood projects are often left unfinished with organizers coming to the city looking for help.
Mayor Harry Tutunjian
had also previously stated that he felt it was wrong to remove money from street improvements and put it into the council's own "pet pork projects."
"We reviewed the mayor's recommendations and found that many groups and neighborhoods were denied funding by the mayor," said Council President Clement Campana
, D-At Large. "This is not acceptable considering CDBG
money is geared specifically to low and moderate income neighborhoods most in need of assistance."
Members of the council's Democratic majority also touted how their increase of funding to rehab existing housing properties, from $356,000 to $396,000, would allow owner occupied homes for less money than was previously spent on building new structures.
Additionally, they discussed how neighborhoods
were in true need of the money they received
and that Tutunjian
was wrong to refer to them as pork.
"It seems he (Tutunjian
) has forgotten the purpose of the HUD program and the tens of thousands of dollars that he allocated to neighborhood groups during his tenure on the council," said Councilman Ken Zalewski
, D-District 5. "While the mayor's priorities have shifted away from our struggling neighborhoods, this council will remain steadfast in its continued support for Troy's neighborhood groups."
Councilman Mark McGrath, R-District 2, issued a statement Friday saying that he was outraged by the majority's actions during their regular meeting and that it was inferred that the head no intentions on funding Lansingburgh projecs in the future.
"Council President Campana sits on the board of the CYO, and openly campaigns for funneling money into that program at the expense of others," said McGrath. "Meanwhile the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club is going to suffer in the future because of its location. There are members of this City Council that forget those of us in Lansingburgh are part of Troy as well.
McGrath also criticized the council for finalizing their changes only an hour before the council meeting and not allowing the public to have ample time to respond or comment on the alterations.
Labels: CDBG, City Council, neighborhood groups