Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A few final thoughts

As folks know, despite holding firm in my assertion that the denial of funding was the proper course of action to take, I do support a compromise to restore partial funding for designated functions by both the East Athens Development Corporation and the Hancock Corridor Development Corporation.

That's why I think I feel it's important to address a couple of things mentioned in this story and in light of tonight's Athens-Clarke County Commission meeting.

Folks keep talking about housing counseling, but focusing on that misses the point altogether. According to conversations with past and present staff at EADC, housing counseling services cost only $30,000 per year and are supplemented by outside funding. In essence, this is one function that can be denied funding and other emphasis needs to be shifted toward the neighborhood revitalization and economic development efforts.

That's why restoring full funding, or even 50 percent or more funding, is wrongheaded. The large sums of money that were unaccounted for at both agencies under those two categories needs to be addressed, and the most appropriate course of action at this stage is to offer reduced sums of funding ($40,000 each) that is designated specifically for one of those functions. As I've said before, ACTION's efforts with home repair meets the census tract's requirements for neighborhood revitalization meaning the focus should be on economic development by the two groups.

Remember, the money is not designated solely for EADC or HCDC, but rather for those census tracts, and any service provider who assists those areas and meets the stated requirements can seek funding. ACTION can meet one requirement, while EADC and HCDC can meet another. In the future, I'd like to see a variety of service providers obtaining funding to serve those communities and not just one or two agencies.


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