Prioritize, reallocate funds.. What funds are being talked about well those would be the CDBG Grant funds.. At the September 13 2011 city council meeting the discussion of how the CDBG Grant funds are spent came in to question. Councilwoman Badalow asked if the 33,000.00 dollars going to re-seed a soccer field might be of better use someplace else in the city.. Councilwoman Agius and councilwoman Van Houten all so wanted to know why these funds could not be used some place else. Well Community and Economic Department Director had something to say about that he said that councilwoman Badalow had 45 days as did the whole council and the public to say something about how the money was spent. That they the council could have put forward any ideas that they might have had as to how they wanted to spend the money. I never heard from you councilwoman Badalow or any of you.
While that may be true and it was true this year and last year Councilwoman Badalow said that is not our job, to that the CEDD Director said that is your job councilwoman Badalow to tell me where you want the money spent. Now all of that might be true, but I would have this to say, first we all only just found out from the Mayor that the city is on the verge of total collapse. Second the council has been asking for months about the budget and the person front and center of that asking has been councilwoman Badalow. Third who should have been meeting with his CEDD Director looking for ways to better spend the CDBG Grant monies would that not be his boss the Mayor.. Is it not his job to look at this as far back as last year? I happen to agree with councilwoman Aguis that I to think there is most likely a way that you can submit a change to reallocate some of the money without having to rewrite the whole budget. The 45 days was back in March we are now in September nothing was said about this money being spent in any other way then how it has been spent.
One thing that this money is now spent on and only in the areas highlighted on the map these areas are the only areas that this grant money qualifies to be spent in. This money is going for what is being called Field Officers, not ordnance officers, but they do the same thing as the ordinance officer. I do not remember seeing this in the budget at all, or are they the same ordinance officers used as field officers, but when they are in the highlighted area of the map their time is charged to the CDBG Grant. Are these new hires? Wish there would have been a little clarification on that. What ever it is it is a great example of thinking out side of the box. I wish we had more thinking like that going on in the city. In my humble opinion if we can pay more people to do work out of these grant funds then we should be, and if that means the whole budget has to be redone so be it. I understand that maybe people should have been paying more attention. They did not let’s move past that and try to see if we might be able to do more on the lines of what you have done Mr. Amen.
Just one thing that I am a little confused by, and that is this Mr. Amen said that he had put $200,000.00 towards the boiler at the Berwyn Center. Now when the Mayor wanted to do this under the former director he was told that he could not spend the grant money on replacing the boiler. The former director went all the way to HUD and asked them if there was anyway that it could be done. The answer was no, the Mayor did not like what the former director said and that was even one of the reasons the Mayor cited for firing him. Now we are hearing that money will be spent on that, but in an article that I posted up here the CEDD Director talks about geothermal for the Berwyn center and how grant funds will be used for that. Not to mention the Mayor indicated that he is not sure what is going to happen to the Berwyn center. So if someone could clarify this for me that would be great.