Apr 19, 2008

Clean Up Day


How many bureaucrats does it take to push a broom? Unfortunately this is not a joke. This week Allentown City Council approved the distribution of the Community Development Block Grants. These grants are distributed to non-profits which use our money to make instant business people, instant home owners and of course support hundreds of jobs administrating these funds. I have attended the meetings at city hall and watched the administrators of these programs compete for public funds; surely a growth industry in the Lehigh Valley. Admittedly, some of these programs have social value, such as emergency shelters. Besides the questionable mission of many of these programs ( i.e.,making a business owner), another problem is the sheer quantity and duplication of these organizations. The money spent on offices, utilities, overhead and administrators using these grants could be put to so much better use. Allentown, because of our economic demographics, would be allowed to apply much of this money directly to infrastructure. This approach, would benefit the tax payers in multiple ways. More capital projects could be completed with less millage, and I believe the area would receive less migration from low-income. I believe everyone would win, unless your employment depends upon an endless supply of new needy people.
* Approved the city's annual Community Development Block Grant program, which allocates money to various programs and non-profit organizations. Here's a summary.


CODE ENFORCEMENT AND REHABILITATION (CDBG)
Old Allentown Public Improvements $350,000
Code Enforcement (Salaries Only)
Acquisition 400,000
Focus Area Public Improvements 100,000
Site Clearance (Salaries Only)
Old Fairgrounds Corridor Rehabilitation – SFL 551,223
Rental Rehabilitation (Salaries Only)
Hazard Elimination Program (Salaries Only)
Program Delivery (includes Salaries to be Apportioned) 644,945
PUBLIC SERVICES (CDBG)
Allentown YMCA & YWCA $ 15,000
Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living 15,000
Adult Literacy Center of the Lehigh Valley 15,000
Family Answers – Ways to Work Program 15,000
Grace Montessori School 15,000
Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley 12,000
Baum School of Art 7,500
Communities In Schools 15,000
Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley -
Community Action Financial Services 15,000
Neighborhood Housing Services of the Lehigh Valley –
Operating 15,000
Boys and Girls Club of Allentown 15,000
St. Luke’s Neighborhood Center 15,000
Mosser Village Family Center 15,000
Community Bike Works 15,000
Circle of Stones 5,500
Embrace Your Dreams 5,250
Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania 11,250
Allentown Public Library 15,000
Lehigh Carbon Community College 5,700
Lehigh County Conference of Churches – Pathways 15,000
Syrian Arab American Charity Association 15,000
Program for Women and Families 15,000
Allentown Economic Development Corporation –
Securing Industrial/Commercial Properties 15,000
Jewish Community Center 3,750
Mayor’s Anti-Gang Initiative 60,000
Mayor’s Workforce Development Program 40,000
NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION (CDBG)
ADA Curb Cuts $180,000
Habitat for Humanity 75,000
Old Fairgrounds Corridor Fa├žade Grants – Residential 220,000
Voluntary Relocation 20,000
Old Allentown Preservation Association 15,000
ADMINISTRATION, PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (CDBG)
Redevelopment Authority of the City of Allentown $289,199
Community Action Development Corporation of the
Lehigh Valley 32,500
Allentown Economic Development Corporation –
Economic Development Planning 180,000
Administration 308,681
Allentown Economic Development Corporaation
Economic Development Initiative 70,000
HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM (HOME)
Old Fairgrounds Corridor Rehabilitation – SFL $320,000
Housing Association and Development Corporation –
North Street 150,000
Allentown Housing Authority 600,000
Administration 95,851
Housing Association and Development Corporation –
CHDO Operating 23,962
Alliance for Building Communities – Doorway to
Homeownership 150,000
Alliance For Building Communities – CHDO Operating 23,962
EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANTS PROGRAM (ESG)
Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley -
Sixth Street Shelter $ 29,000
Allentown Rescue Mission 29,000
Salvation Army 29,000
Administration 5,671
Lehigh County Conference of Churches – Daybreak 29,000

*This list appeared on the mcall queen city blog

THIS BLOG WAS INSPIRED FROM A FELLOW BLOGGER INVOLVED IN THE NON-PROFIT SECTION, WHO BELIEVES ALLENTOWN SHOULD PAY A NON-PROFIT GROUP TO HIRE A FOR PROFIT CONTRACTOR TO CLEAN OUR LITTER. I THINK THERE ARE TOO MANY MIDDLE MEN BETWEEN OUR TAXES AND OUR PROBLEMS. I'D RATHER HAVE THE CITY HIRE TWO MEN AND BUY TWO BROOMS.

3 comments:

Veritas said...

I am curious. Has any one ever done a look back on these disbursements to determine if what was said is going to done, was done?

michael molovinsky said...

i do not know the factual answer to your question; i assume they all include some self-evaluation with their application from one year to the next. some of the organizations are certainly worthwhile, but i believe should be supported by faith-based communities, as opposed to the tax-payers. the politicians have convinced the public if the grant isn't from local taxes, it's not our money. others of course are cloaked in pc. all told, we're talking about 5.5 million dollars this year. considering the facts on the ground, the reality and perception of allentown, we are not getting great valve for this investment during the last 20 years.

Anonymous said...

I read recently, on Bernie O'Hare's blog, that Rep. Jenn Mann helped the Parkland Ice Hockey club procure a $10,000 grant. This is obscene under any circumstances, and especially when compared to the $15,000 grants listed here for groups that are helping those truly in need, like Turning Point, St. Luke's Neighborhood center, etc. So while it may seem ridiculous and wasteful, it's better that these groups are grabbing something, before we're also funding Lower Macungie lacrosse teams or Upper Saucon community centers. Unless the entire system is drastically changed, there is no good solution.